Yes, these are candied walnuts. But not necessarily the ones that you’d want to eat out of hand — you can, of course — but more like the candied walnuts you’ll find placed on salads to add a slightly sweet crunch. Generally, the ones that you eat out of hand have additional spices and flavors to make them stand more on their own, like our sweet and savory nuts.
While the technique of making these nuts is super-simple, we will say that we saw it when we were searching through some of Thomas Keller’s recipes over at Food&Wine, so we won’t try to claim these as our own.
Wow, not too much to say about walnuts, water, sugar, and salt, so we won’t say anything.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Toast walnuts. Place the walnuts on the sheet, spread them around, and bake 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
Peel skin. Once you’ve toasted the nuts, the skins will often peel up in spots. That skin is bitter, so remove any that you find. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl. Let the pan stay as it is, since you’ll reuse it in a minute.
Add water. Pour the teaspoon of water over the nuts and toss until coated and moist.
Add sugar and salt. Add the sugar and a good pinch of salt to the nuts and toss until coated. Watch the brown sugar because it tends to have lumps in it that you’ll need to break up.
Bake again. Put the nuts back on the lined baking sheet in a single layer and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp and dry. The crispness will be mainly on the outside of the nuts, as hot nuts seem soft in the middle.
Cool. Transfer the nuts to a plate, in a single layer, and let cool completely. They’ll crisp a bit more as they cool.
We made these for a quick salad (our first greens of the season at the CSA), and they were quite tasty, but, really, how can you go wrong with sweet, salty, and nutty in a single bite? With these being so easy, you can make up double batches and add them to salads every night. Fives.