There are various ways to make candied walnuts, ranging from stove top, roasting, or deep frying. I first started making these yummy little morsels to top one of my favorite salads with Roasted Beets, arugula, goat cheese, red onion, and tomatoes. These are great for salad toppers or just to munch on by themselves. I also make this roasted version as a healthier alternative to deep frying for a classic Chinese dish: Honey Walnut Prawns (traditionally the candied walnuts here are deep fried, sugar glazed and sprinkled with sesame seeds).
When I am feeling lazy, all I do is dry toast the walnuts with sugar in a skillet over medium high heat on the stovetop. A ratio of 2:1 walnuts to sugar is usually the perfect amount and I like to add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. It only takes 5-10 minutes to do but you must watch the pan carefully, as I have burned a few batches when I got distracted. The recipe below is a little bit “fancier” as you blanch the walnuts first, as blanching removes the bitterness of the walnuts and bring out their sweetness and nutty flavors. The recipe also has more spices involved, but then all you do is pop it in the oven so the actually toasting part is low maintenance. I think both methods are very simple and the results are great — let me know which you prefer!
Yields: 1 cup
- 1 C walnuts
- 2 T maple syrup or honey
- 1 T sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- generous pinch of cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Blanch walnuts in boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute and then drain.
While still wet, combine walnuts and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until walnuts are deep golden and sugar mixture is bubbling.
Cool completely on baking sheet. These can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container.