One of my favorite restaurants in our area (House of Tricks) has wonderful seasonal salads that are made with a selection of fresh fruit, beautifully selected greens or vegetables, artisan cheeses, great dressings and best of all, sometimes even candied nuts. I absolutely adore candied nuts, but have always shied away from making them myself since making hot sugar syrup (which most recipes I looked at required) isn't one of my favorite kitchen adventures. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and didn't really enjoy it. So I was definitely on the hunt for a recipe that was easy enough that I could whip up a batch of candied nuts on a whim and with ingredients I always have on hand and without the danger of scorching hot sugar syrup. The recipe that I found on Foodnetwork fits the bill 100 percent.
This recipe could not be any easier and 4 ingredients is all you need. Walnuts (pecans or almonds work as well) are blanched for about 3 minutes in boiling water. By doing so it will help the rest of your ingredients "stick". The hot, wet nuts are then tossed in a mixture of powdered sugar, salt and cayenne pepper before being placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat (I use the latter and it works like a charm). The nuts are baked for about 15 - 20 minutes with giving them a stir every 5 minutes to ensure even browning. You will need a watchful eye to make sure they don't burn since they are coated with sugar after all, but I found the process to be much less labor intensive then traditional candied nuts.
These nuts taste wonderful! Only slightly sweet, with a little hint of spice and best of all, the sugar won't turn so hard that you are running the risk of breaking a filling. They are seriously addicting. Great served by themselves for a party or simply to snack on, they also dress up any old salad. So if you like candied nuts, without the fuss, this is definitely the recipe for you as well. Stay tuned for my favorite fancy salad recipe which includes these little gems.
Easy Candied Walnuts
~makes 1 cup~
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces walnuts (about 1 heaping cup)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the sugar, cayenne and salt.
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Add the walnuts and blanch them for 3 minutes. Drain well and then immediately roll the walnuts in the sugar mixture until thoroughly coated. The sugar will melt slightly. Transfer the walnuts to a baking sheet or pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until they are a deep golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Watch carefully because the sugar can burn easily. Let cool completely before serving.
Adapted from: Foodnetwork
Adapted from: Foodnetwork