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I made this recipe twice. The sugar melted. I added the nuts. Stirred. Then I put them on the parchment covered pan and began separating with 2 forks. The nuts broke as I separated them and the end result looks like a mess. You can’t even tell they are walnuts. Not worth the trouble.In my experience, the only way to get nice looking walnuts coated is to dip them into the melted sugar one at a time and place on parchment.
So sorry this didn’t work for you! I bet you can still put them on top of ice cream or use them in some way where the aesthetics aren’t as important?
I was using these with a raspberry salad so I add 1/8 tsp raspberry emulsion to sugar and it had just the right hint of raspberry taste to compliment salad as a whole. If I didn’t want raspberry… I’d likely add vanilla also.
I have made this Chinese-style. One of the secrets I found was to blanch (simmer) the walnuts for 10 minutes before toasting. This removes the bitterness which can be very pronounced to some people with walnuts. The second lovely addition is to sprinkle sesame seeds (toasted if you like) over the nuts at the point where this recipe says to sprinkle with salt. The extra flavor is amazing. Just some thoughts. :)
Hi Dawn, great idea! We blanched walnuts for another recipe recently and you’re right, blanching takes away the bitterness. It’s the tannins that make walnuts bitter (and cause staining) so apparently blanching works to remove them from the walnuts.
Great tasting simple recipe! We followed the recipe and then we sprinkled cinnamon on top to add extra flavor. It was gone in minutes.
I made candied walnuts many years ago but the recipe was so complicated and the oil started to burn and smoked up the whole house. This looks way too easy…love it! So tonight we are having roasted beet salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese. I’m thinking of using brown sugar rather than white sugar. No idea how I’m going to cook the chicken, yet!
Just tried this for the first time, to put into a salad with cranberries and apples I am making for a NYE party. I can mess anything up but these seemed to have turned out OK! I used my toaster oven and toasted the walnuts in batches, just in case. This only became problematic because I forgot to reduce the sugar for fewer walnuts, so the first batch came out very sugary! But so yummy. The second batch was better. The only problem I found is that the sugar tends to harden on the wooden spoon so I would recommend using a plastic spatula which seemed easier to get the hardened sugar off of, and also when left over residual sugar hardened in the pan, that was a bit of a pain to get off. But all in all these are so good and I’m so glad I know how to make candied walnuts now! The hardest part is not eating them all before putting them into the salad!
I definitely do not recommend a plastic spatula, which will most likely melt at the very high temperatures of the melted sugar. To get the sugar off of the wooden spoon, just soak it in water for 10 minutes.
Yes, the residual sugar can harden like cement. But just soak it for 5 minutes or so in hot water and it dissolves.
Yesterday, I gathered a huge bowl of walnuts from our tree. Today, we shelled the nuts and made the recipe. Worked perfectly. YUM!!!
Just made these 5 minutes ago. So quick and easy. I followed directions exactly but used a silicone spatula to stir cause I don’t have a wooden spoon. Serving these on a summery salad tonight. Yum!
Any tips on clean up? Otherwise, worked out pretty well for a first timer, except forgot the salt. I used turbinado (Sugar in the Raw) so it was amber right from the start, and might not have waited quite long enough- didn’t get even coating, but hey, they taste awesome.
Hi Dave, sugar is beautifully water soluble, and so is caramelized sugar. All you need to do is soak the pan/cooking implements in water long enough. Hot water will speed things up, I usually start with hot water and soak for several hours.
I have never candied anything before, but I followed the recipe to the letter, and it worked wonderfully. Thank you so much to everyone else for all the tips. I also sprayed the paper with a bit of oil to stop them sticking. Might try butter next time. They taste DIVINE!
I had walnuts at home from many days.
Didn’t know what to do….. Today I thought of doing something with them and googled walnut recipes….
When I first saw this recipe , I thought its so simple but worried about the Sugar melting part
But , It came out very well and sugar didn’t burn…..
I used alluminium foil greased with butter for spreading the sugar coated nuts.
Adding Salt increased the taste of it and it was really a great and easy recipe….
Thanks for sharing……
I just made these a few minutes ago and followed the recipe exactly. They were DELICIOUS!
I doubled the recipe and toasted the walnuts for 6 minutes. I used a medium saucepan at medium heat (no higher) and lowered it once almost all of the clumps had melted. The sugar got very clumpy at first, but then it all melted and became amber just like the directions said. The clumps ALL melted out – it just took a little time and patience.
I spread them on a Silpat lined baking sheet and sprinkled the salt. Once the cooled, I was able to break apart the clumps. PERFECT RECIPE!!! :)
This was awesome. I had no issues. I didn’t have an appropriate sized saucepan with a thick bottom so I used my good heavy 10″ frying pan and it worked just fine.
People who are freaking out about clumpy sugar probably weren’t patient enough. Just stir it until it all melts then throw in the nuts. Easy. I didn’t have fancy parchment paper so I just threw the nuts on aluminum foil and they didn’t stick to it.
for those that are having trouble with the sugar recrystallizing on you, it’s because you’re stirring too much. If you have any left over sugar crystals on the side of your pot / wooden spoon, you can reintroduce the crystal structure back into the already melted sugar, and they form crystals again.
An easier way to prevent this from happening is to add 1/4 cup of water per cup of sugar at the beginning. Stir the sugar and water for the first minute or so, wash down the sides of the pot with a CLEAN brush, and water, and just walk away until the sugar syrup has turned the color you’re looking for. (i always cook sugar on medium heat) Washing down the sides of the pot periodically will help, especially if you notice crystals forming. :)
As usual, this recipe is still the simplest one around. For those who are having problems, I’ll give you a few tips:
1) Use a big enough pan – 2-3qt. A little sauce pan won’t cut it.
2) Stir, turn it on medium heat (medium high if you know what you are doing).
3) Keep stirring, do not add anything. You’ll see the sugar start to look like clumpy sand.
4) You’re close…you’ll see part of it start to melt. Now is where it’s important to bring the edges into the middle. Keep stirring, the lumps will go away.
5) It will look like a light pancake syrup. Add your toasted nuts and stir quickly, and completely.
6)Don’t panic if they are all sticking together. Use a forks and break them apart.
7) DO NOT USE WAX PAPER — It melts and is hard to work with. Parchment paper is the best.
Note: For the past 15 years, I have added a little nutmeg, cinnamon and chile powder. Great flavor. You can also zest a little orange peel.
I’ve wanted to make candied walnuts for some time. I found your recipe. The fewer ingredients and steps, the better. It was so easy. I added a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper into the sugar. They came out so light and crispy. I gave some to a neighbor and told her they’d be good on salads. As she was eating them, she said, “No they won’t. They won’t get that far.” That said it all. They are great!
I have been looking for a candied walnut recipe that uses liquor. I’m not sure if it is Rum or something else. I remember having them when I was a young child at Christmas time and they were awesome.
Does anyone have a recipe like that?
I don’t have a pot with a particularly thick bottom- how problematic is this?
It’s a problem because then the sugar might not melt or caramelize evenly. You could more easily end up with burnt sugar.
One important tip when doing this is DO NOT put the candied nuts on WAX paper. The sugar temp will be way in excess of what wax paper can handle. The nuts will become fused to the paper and there’s no way to get them off, without the taste of crayons and the occasional bit of paper. Use parchment paper instead! It can handle the heat. Learned this the hard way!
I just tried these for the first time. I was about ready to call it quits (I had the melting and clumping that some other posters have described) but I just kept stirring and it eventually happened! The sugar completely melted…I added a bit of pumpkin pie spice and they are really good. There was a bit of stringing between the nuts as I separated them on the baking sheet…I assume this is normal or does it mean that I didn’t cook the sugar long enough? Regardless they taste just fine and will be awesome on salad (along with craisins and a raspberry vinaigrette).
So glad it worked out for you! And yes, the stringing is normal.