Caramelized or candied nuts are a delicious sweet, a sugary snack that you cannot escape after eating one. Today I'm going to tell you how to make delicious caramelized pecans at home! Sweet and crunchy, notice that they are highly addictive, and to make them you will only need a frying pan.

How to make caramelized

To make the caramelized nuts we will only need nuts, sugar and essences to flavor it.

Often they are made without flavoring, with sugar only, but I suggest applying mainly vanilla and cinnamon, it gives them a delicious aroma (it is usual to use at least vanilla). Also keep in mind that we will use brown sugar mainly, rather than white, for the aroma it brings to the pecans (but you can use white sugar only for the syrup if you prefer its result).

How will we do it? With the sugar we will make a syrup to cover the walnuts, and it will be at the moment of its cooling and crystallization that we will obtain some homemade caramelized book.

In the same way, you could make caramelized from other nuts, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pipes... The aromas that I propose to use in the recipe undoubtedly go especially well with all kinds of walnuts and almonds.

Difference Between California Walnuts and Pecans

Pecans are becoming very fashionable. The truth is that they do taste different from the California walnuts that we have been using the most, and I highly encourage you to take them and use them if you have not already done so.

You will appreciate pecans for their flavor: they are less bitter than the others; and you will undoubtedly distinguish them by their elongated and vertical shape. You will also appreciate its virtues in texture: its meat is buttery, oily and creamier.

For all these reasons, it is preferable to use pecans for garnish.

Ingredients

  • 280 g pecan nuts
  • 80 ml of water
  • 100 g of brown sugar
  • 50 g white sugar (*see notes)
  • ½ teaspoon (2.1 ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons (5.2g) cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.5g) nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g) cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation of the candied walnuts

  1. First, toast the walnuts in the oven: arrange the pecans on a baking tray , spread out over its surface, and bake them for about 10-15 minutes at 170ºC. From time to time, stir them with a spatula so that they toast evenly on all sides. When toast is appreciated, remove and reserve.
  2. Prepare the syrup: in an iron skillet and over medium heat, add the water and add all the seasonings, that is, the sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne if you want to add it. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. Immediately add the nuts and return to the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, to impregnate all the nuts with the syrup and help the sugar melt and crystallize (about 10 minutes). In a few minutes you will see how a whitish grit is created around it. Raise the heat and do not stop stirring, so that it crystallizes but does not burn.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, and prepare a tray with baking paper , to spread the caramelized nuts on top (scatter them on the tray, separated from each other so they do not clump) and let the nuts cool).
  5. Once cold, you can serve them or keep them in an airtight jar .

Ideas for using and enjoying caramelized nuts

  • You will love to eat the caramelized ones as is: enjoy them as a snack, they are full of energy!
  • Take them out at coffee time, after lunch, and it will be the final touch to the meeting (do not forget to say that you have made them, it will be a safe matter to know how you have done them).
  • They are ideal in green salads, together with cured cheeses, fresh cheese or fresh strawberries, they admit a wide variety of accompaniments.
  • Put them in a jar or in bags: it is a precious gift for parties, to have a detail with someone or when you have visitors.
  • Do you make stuffed pasta at home? Those ravioli stuffed with pear, cheese and walnuts can be made with caramelized pecans, the contrast between sweet and salty will be a sure hit.
  • In pastry! Apply these caramelized nuts (chopped or whole) to decorate and give the final touch to your cakes. Also to crown cookies and muffins, and cakes of all kinds!

Grades

  • *The usual thing is to make a syrup only with white sugar. You can make the caramelized ones with white sugar (substitute the brown sugar for white, applying in this case 150 gr in total of white), but I think that the aromas of brown sugar cane are delicious with the pecans.
  • Think about the flavors that you like: you can aromatize them only with vanilla extract, or apply ginger if that is what you like (along with a pinch of pepper it is very special).
  • The walnuts, you can cut them in half if you prefer to take a smaller bite or have a variety of very large pecans.
  • Don't be scared of the caramel bits left behind when it's time to clean the pan or mat! Remember that you will only have to leave it in water so that the sugar dissolves before applying the sponge and soap.

I hope you enjoy a lot caramelizing nuts. Do not forget to tell me what tricks or aromas you use to make them, it will be a great learning experience for everyone.

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