Stovetop candied walnuts are addictive. I didn’t intend to spend even 10 minutes of my weekend making these tasty delights. but after seeing them in a recipe a few days ago, I couldn’t resist.
For my Progressive Eats contribution this month, I’m making Retro Waldorf Salad. Researching the post, I found a recipe titled “Waldorf Salad with Truffles and Candied Walnuts.” It called for more minced black winter truffles and deep fried candied walnuts. I can’t afford truffles and don’t think I would like them anyway. I didn’t want to deep fry any ingredient of my salad either.
But the phrase “candied walnuts,” remained firmly planted in my mind.
With a bit more research, I discovered that you can make stovetop candied walnuts without deep frying them. After looking at versions from Genius Kitchen and Natasha’s Kitchen (the similarity in their names is coincidental), I was ready to start.
The whole process takes less than 10 minutes and it’s not messy if you are organized.
Tips for Making Stovetop Candied Walnuts
- Get organized. Once the walnuts go in the pan, you won’t have time to scurry around looking for a place to put the spatula or parchment paper. I’m not always as good as I should be about this rule when cooking, but it’s essential when the process is quick. It’s like stir-frying, but with sugar.
- Use a heavy pan. I prefer cast iron but any heavy pan will do. A lighter one will tend to heat too quickly and burn the sugar.
- After cooking the walnuts, let them cool down before you touch them. Really.
Stovetop Candied Walnuts
These addictive sweets require only 3 ingredients and take under 10 minutes to make.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup sugar (granulated)
Melt the butter on low heat. Add the chopped walnuts and stir until they are well coated. Then add the sugar.
Once the sugar is added, raise the heat to medium and stir frequently for 5 minutes with a heat-resistant spatula. For the first 2 1/2 minutes or so, the sugar will soften but remain visible in granules. After that, it begins to soften and liquify. Once it begins to soften, keep moving the walnuts around. If necessary, lower the light to keep the sugar from burning.
Immediately after the 5 minutes of cooking, pour the walnuts onto a parchment-lined pan or baking sheet in a single layer. They will cool down in less than 5 minutes. Try to separate the walnuts while they are still hot. As they cool, they will crisp up and if any remain attached, you can break them apart.
This method should work well with pecans, too. And both types of candied nuts (in halves rather than chopped) would make great additions to holiday gift bags.