Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crystallized, (Candied) and Glazed Nuts

When I was little, I remember my mom making crystallized (candied) nuts.  They were a once a year super special treat and we always had to stand back when she dumped them out onto the tray and carefully and quickly broke them apart.  I particularly like the crystallized kind but R surprisingly seems to prefer the glazed.  (Which is awesome since they have less sugar.)  I whipped up both of these batches in about 15 minutes, so it's a quick and easy snack or salad add-in too.  If you can keep them in a sealed glass jar, they should last a week or so before they're gobbled up.  These are fairly simple, just nuts, water and sugar, but it's super easy to add flavors like cinnamon or cayenne to kick it up a notch.  They'd make a great addition to a Holiday candy tray (and none of the additives in the flavored, corn syrup laden store bought versions available).  You can use raw nuts in these recipes but I prefer to use crispy nuts (nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated) since they are easier to digest and I prefer the taste.  (I make a whole bag of Costco pecans, walnuts or almonds at a time.)  

Candied walnuts are great in salads!  I do recommend making the glazed on an as needed basis since they like to pull moisture and get just slightly sticky.  The crystallized are the way to go for longer term storage.

Glazed Nuts
makes 1 cup (double as needed)

¼ cup water (scant)
3 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
pinch sea salt
1 cup nuts (crispy nuts are great for this)

Combine sugar and water in a skillet.  Cook over medium heat until boiling, swirling to mix.  Add the nuts and stir to coat.  Cook for another minute or so until they start to look sticky and start sticking together slightly.  Turn out onto a parchment lined sheet in a single layer to cool.  Store in an airtight container.  (They may get sticky on humid days.)

Crystallized Nuts
makes 2 cups

¼ cup water
¾ cup evaporated cane sugar
pinch sea salt
2 cups nuts (crispy nuts are great for this)

Combine sugar and water in a skillet.  Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring to mix.  Boil for a minute until bubbles start getting larger.  Add nuts and cook and stir for 3-5 minutes until the syrup starts to solidify.  Keep stirring and quickly move off the heat.  Pour out onto a parchment lined sheet and break apart any clumps with a wooden spoon.  Wait for the nuts to cool and discard any extra sugar left on the sheet after packing the nuts in an airtight container.

(I probably ended up with between a quarter and a third of a cup of leftover sugar crystals on the sheet and pan from the candied batch so the actual nuts really only have a little more sugar than the glazed variety.  ☺)


kitchen flavours said...

This looks great! Bookmarked! Thanks for sharing!

Mary said...

I'll be using both of these recipes. Candied nuts are expensive to purchase and a homemade version is a wonderful alternative. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Gerry @Foodness Gracious said...

I love candied nuts for my salads, they really change the whole dish!!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I love glazed nuts and make them every Christmas. I've yet to try to make candied nuts, though - they look great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I've been making crispy nuts, but I wasn't sure if I could glaze them after dehydrating them. So this post clears that up! I am going to glaze them with a mixture of cranberry sauce and chipotle pepper. I hope it works out!

hobby baker said...

That sounds like a delicious combination - I love the Valdosta pecan mix with cranberries and black pepper. Just be careful to cook enough moisture out so they don't get soggy. Or you could try dried cranberries instead of sauce. ☺