I don’t know of anyone who dislikes candied nuts. Even someone like me who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth will take a bag of candied nuts from a crying child any day. Okay maybe not from a child, especially when said child is crying, but I would not hesitate for a second to nicely ask for a couple of pieces. Unless the nuts are candied to rock solid status and are so wrapped up in hardened sugar it’s like biting into a meteor. In which case, please take back your rock-hard nuts and throw it at your lover’s window so that she may come down and meet you.
Don’t you just hate it when candied things are like that? If that is the type of stuff I’m getting from the store then I might as well just make my own. I bet you would too when you find out how easy it is.
So today’s tutorial will feature a Jeni Briton Bauer technique and supposedly my first ever bag of pine nuts. You guys, I was sooooo excited to talk about that. Alas, if you read my previous post you would know that my memory card got corrupted to no return recently, and my original photos for this post were included in those I was forced to bid adieu to. I had to remake and rephotograph for this post, and because I didn’t have it in me to buy another bag of the expensive pine nuts, we end up with another of my favourite nuts instead. Walnuts, which when candied is particularly tasty.
I really like candied walnuts. Walnuts and pili nuts are my choices for best “candy-able” nuts. I don’t think I’d enjoy candied almonds unless the coating is chocolate, and also I like almonds better naked or just lightly seasoned with chilli or something. You can eat candied walnuts as they are, maybe sprinkle them on salads, but they are also great in many dishes, like this Chinese version of a shrimp salad that’s a favourite in the house.
Ironically I used to hate walnuts. And almonds. And majority of nuts that didn’t have pea- in front actually. But hey, back then I also hated peanut butter. Go figure. But that was when I was a kid and had no taste whatsoever, because now many of the things I used to hate are now things I love (and vice versa but let’s talk about that another time).
So the candying of nuts is incredibly simple. Mind-blowingly so actually. The ingredients are most likely already in your pantry right at this moment, but you will need an oven for this.
I have tried two techniques in candying nuts and although the first one does produce some nice results also, I love this second process better. The resulting nuts are just so tasty and fragrant– so addictive. They aren’t just straightforward sweet but have this other dimension of buttery sweetness, and neither are they so covered up in sugar you can barely see the nuts anymore. They are, as far as candied nuts go, perfect. For me at least.
So the first step is to preheat your oven of course to 350°F (180°C). And then you need to prep your nuts. Just mix it around with the sugar, honey, melted butter, salt, and mix until every bit is fully covered.
Next, lay the nuts out on a lined baking sheet and spread them out as best you can. At this point it’ll be easier to use your hands. Don’t worry so much if some pieces end up sticking together. It won’t be so difficult to break them apart anyway.
Put the nuts into the oven for 8 minutes for the first bake. Once that’s done, take the nuts out and give it a little stir USING A FORK or your utensil of choice to break up any clumped pieces and to move it around. Please never forget that you will be handling nuts with melted sugar, which means it will burn you if you touch it. So use a spoon to handle the nuts once the baking process has started.
Now put the sheet back into the oven for another 6 minutes, stirring it once or twice during the course of the second baking. The nuts are ready when you start seeing your honey and sugar bubbling, and the nuts will be covered in a beautiful golden sheen as well that looks like it’s dried and wrapped itself around the nuts.
Give it one last stir if you want, and then leave it to cool completely, stirring it around every once in a while just to make sure it doesn’t stick together. If you’re too lazy or too busy to stir it around like me, you can just leave it and then break it apart later on. Like I said, it doesn’t go hard like rocks so it won’t be difficult.
And finally, enjoy your glorious honeyed nuts! Store them in an airtight container and stash the container in your bag. Heehee. 🙂
Here’s the recipe with the full measurements in two versions. Just print out whichever you like better, though I must admit I’m having fun shooting the magazine-like spreads.
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup pine nuts / walnuts / pecans
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 2. Combine the nuts with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat.
- 3. Spread nuts out on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
- 4. Stir and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes, stirring twice. The nuts are ready when they look bubbly and somewhat dry.
- 5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, stirring the nuts every couple of minutes to break them up.
I’ll see you on my next post in a few days, where I will write about another of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams featuring a batch of candied pine nuts! 🙂