Monday, January 5, 2009

Candied Walnuts

I first fell for candied nuts in a salad when I had them at the California Pizza Kitchen in Newport Beach, CA years ago. They were generously sprinkled among the mixed field greens and coated with a balsamic vinaigrette. I thought they were the best thing ever! I have made candied nuts in a skillet by just caramelizing sugar with a touch of butter or oil and tossing in the nuts to coat. But then about a year ago I saw a recipe in Southern Living Magazine for a recipe by Laura Werlin that used an entirely different method and powdered sugar of all things! They sounded amazing and looked wonderful so I had to try them. They came out perfectly! Since then it has been my go to recipe for candied nuts. I have also discovered that I like them even better when I use pecans instead of walnuts. The recipe calls for cayenne pepper, and for eating as a bar snack or with cheese I would make them as directed. However, since I mainly use them in salads I just use a small pinch of cayenne for subtle spice. If you decide to make them the same recipe is here on the Food Network site, though I find they take about 20 minutes to candy and brown sufficiently. Keep your eye on them. I'd recommend doubling the recipe because you will want that many once you try them. I noticed I get two slightly different variations depending on whether I use kosher salt or Maldon Sea Salt. Try it for yourself and see which you prefer. Once you make them, get out those field greens, sprinkle in some dried cranberries along with some cheese ( I love it equally with crumbled feta, blue cheese or shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano) and mix up a Balsamic Vinaigrette. Here's my recipe:

1/2 c. good Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey , salt and pepper.
2. Combine oils and slowly drizzle into vinegar mixture, whisking constantly (or use blender).
3. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit you.

This one is a little acidic, but it plays nicely off of the sweet nuts and cranberries in the salad. Make it sweeter if you prefer. It will last several weeks in the fridge. I hope you enjoy it!


  1. I have ust discovered your blog and loved reading it. Candied walnuts, spiced or sweet are my addiction!
    I wish you the best in finding a business venture that fulfills your pastry creativity.

  2. Thank you so much! I just found your blog earlier today, too, and found it exquisite!I am considering joining the Daring you love it? Your buches de Noel look amazing. Wish I could have had a bite...or two! Best to you!