I’m sure this has happened to you. You’re at the store, crossing items off your list, and you can’t find the last ingredient. You’ve combed the aisles, double checking that you didn’t just miss it. That was me, wandering around Gelson’s for candied walnuts, which I was certain they must have. But they didn’t. And I was not prepared to drive from store to store to find them.
So on the drive home I figured there must be a way to make them myself, in less than 30 minutes, because I had to toss them into a salad for the dinner I was going to. And let me tell you, candied walnuts are a breeze. Aside from the star ingredient, you only need sugar and salt to pull this off. (And it’s really impressive to say that you candied them yourself.)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
½ cup raw walnuts
Pinch of coarse salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Use middle rack in oven. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Test for doneness. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on a rack.
2. Pour sugar into a medium saucepan with a thick bottom. Have walnuts nearby, ready to quickly add to the pan at the right time. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber. As soon as sugar is melted and the color is a medium amber, add the walnuts to the pan, quickly stirring and coating each piece with the sugar mixture.
3. As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet, lined either with a Silpat non-stick mat, or with wax paper or parchment paper. (As I was out of parchment, foil worked fine.) Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely.