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Candied walnut recipe: Perfect for a healthy snack or amazing on a salad

candied walnuts
candied walnuts
Sherry Smith-Noble

Candied walnuts are the answer to the question “what can I eat for a healthy snack or what would be great on a salad?” Every once in a while a recipe comes along that is too good to pass up – this is one of those recipes! These are much more than just candied walnuts – the orange flavor is so subtle, so delicious, that you cannot get enough of them.

Walnuts are the nut de jour, and for good reason. They are one of the healthiest choices of the nut world. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, walnuts are an excellent source for omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, and tryptophan. Omega-3 is good for the heart, manganese is good for metabolism and tryptophan helps the body deal with stress.

This recipe calls for grated orange peel and orange juice. If you’re juicing your own oranges, here are a couple tips to get the most juice from your orange:

  • Let the oranges warm to room temperature. (If the oranges were just removed from the refrigerator, run them under warm water to bring the temperature down.)
  • Massage each orange -- put it on the counter and, applying pressure from the palm of your hand, roll it around a bit under your palm continually pressing down. This works up the juice inside the orange and helps release it from the peel.

You will want to keep some oranged walnuts on hand to eat as a snack or add to a salad. They are perfect for both! (Pictured is a salad made with romaine lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, shaved parmesan cheese and sprinkled with orange candied walnuts – delicious!)

Candied Walnut Recipe

Ingredients for Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 cups walnut halves
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel (don’t skip this ingredient, as it contributes greatly to the taste of the recipe)
  • Pinch of salt

Directions for Candied Walnuts:

In a medium to large-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and orange juice – stirring continually, bring to soft-ball stage (on a candy thermometer, this is 240 degrees). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop a teaspoonful of the sugar syrup in a cup of ice-cold water. By circling around the syrup with your finger, it should form a ball and, upon removing the ball from the water, it should flatten – thus, soft ball stage.

Once the sugar syrup has reached the soft-ball stage, remove it from the heat. Add the walnuts, the orange peel, and a pinch of salt. Stir everything together until the syrup becomes cloudy and hard to stir. Very quickly turn the mixture out onto waxed paper, parchment paper, or foil. Let cool, then break apart by putting in a plastic bag and pounding lightly with a mallet or rolling pin (breaking into walnut-sized pieces).
(From Secrets for Better Cooking, 1973)

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