A simple and easy recipe for crispy candied walnuts with a special method to remove the bitterness from it! Made with just 3 ingredients and ready from start to finish in 25 minutes!
If you're like me and do not like walnuts because of their bitter taste, then boy do I have a treat for you! These Chinese candied walnuts are crispy with a hint of sweetness (and if you like, savoriness as well) with absolutely no hint of bitterness.
INGREDIENTS FOR CANDIED WALNUTS
- Walnuts - I like to use walnuts for this recipe because of all the nooks and crannies that hold all the sugar onto it which makes it more candied and crispy. I have not tested this on any other nuts yet.
- Sugar - I have tested this with coarse raw sugar, demerara sugar, granulated white sugar, and powdered sugar and they all work well for this recipe.
- Oil/Butter - I personally like to use oil for this recipe over butter but I do occasionally use butter for this and it works just as well. For the oils, I like to stick to the more common oils like canola and corn oils.
- Salt (optional) - salt is completely optional for the recipe and I only recommend adding it if you like sweet and savory flavored nuts.
BOILING WALNUTS IN WATER
When I learned this technique from my dad when he worked at a Chinese restaurant and it blew my mind. Boiling the walnuts in boiling water for 5 minutes removes that bitter flavor on the skins. It also removes the residue coating on the nuts which makes the walnuts crispier when it gets roasted.
The hot walnuts also help with melting the sugars to get them into the crevices.
OVEN ROASTED vs STOVETOP
At Chinese restaurants, they deep fry the walnuts after boiling it but for this recipe, I kept things a bit simpler by oven roasting them instead. We are still essentially deep frying them in the oven, but this has a much easier and quick clean up afterward.
I have tried using both the stovetop and the oven to make these walnuts, and I prefer the oven-roasted method. Here's why.
- You can make bigger batches since cookie sheets/cake pans are larger than frying pans.
- It's easier than using the stovetop because you don't need to constantly stir the walnuts.
- The heat and dry air in the oven cooks and dries the walnuts out more evenly.
- Easier cleanup. Remove the parchment and throw it out. The pan should be clean.
- You have to constantly stir the walnuts or they will burn
- Uneven cooking since the walnuts are constantly moving
- Slightly quicker cooking time than using the oven, by about 10 minutes
Regardless of which method you choose to use, it is crucial to let it cool completely to allow it to harden before storing or eating. Try to keep them in a single layer and preferably not touching so they don't stick together.
STORAGE & SHELF LIFE
Since these walnuts have been roasted, there is a shelf life to them. I keep this for about 2 weeks but since they usually disappear pretty fast.
Store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place. I don't recommend putting it in the refrigerator unless you live in a high humidity area because the fridge usually has a bit of moisture in there and it can cause the walnuts to clump together and lose some of their crispiness.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE CANDIED WALNUTS
- Use them on your charcuterie board
- Eat them as-is as a snack
- Add them to shrimp or vegetable stir-fries
- Break them up into smaller pieces and add them to your granola mix
- Add them into your cereal or oatmeal
- Break them up into smaller chunks and add it to your yogurt
- Add them on top of salads to give it a bit of crunch and additional flavor
LOOKING FOR MORE BITE-SIZED SNACKS?
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DID YOU MAKE THESE CANDIED WALNUTS?
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Crispy Candied Walnuts
- Pros and Cons of Oven-Roasting: You can make bigger batches, you do not need to watch the stovetop, easier to clean up (throw out parchment paper), and the heat and dry air roast the walnuts more evenly. No major con, except it takes a bit longer.
- Pros and Cons of Stovetop: Slightly quicker cooking time by about 10 minutes, but you have to make it smaller batches and it cooks more un-evenly.
- I have tested this with coarse raw sugar, demerara sugar, granulated white sugar, and powdered sugar and they all work well for this recipe.
- I personally like to use oil for this recipe over butter but I do occasionally use butter for this and it works just as well. For the oils, I like to stick to the more common oils like canola and corn oils, but avocado oil is my favorite oil to use because of it's high smoking point, and it's the healthiest oil of the other 2.
- Salt is completely optional for the recipe and I only recommend adding it if you like sweet and savory flavored nuts.
- Store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.
- Alternatively, if you want to make it exactly like how they do at the restaurants, you can deep fry it in oil for 3-5 minutes on low heat, just make sure the sugar gets fully dissolved with the hot walnuts right after you strained them from the boiling water, you want to create a light syrupy coating on all the walnuts. You can also skip adding the oil with the sugar since you will be deep frying it in oil.
- Put a pot of water over the stove on medium high heat
- When the water starts to boil, add in the walnuts and boil them for 4-5 minutes
- Drain the water from the pot into a strainer and transfer the walnuts to a small bowl
- While the walnuts are still hot, sprinkle the sugar over the walnuts and mix well. The residual heat from the walnuts will melt the sugar. If you are using a bit of salt, add it during this step.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and everything is well mixed, add in the oil and mix well
Oven Roasting Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet or pan and pour the walnuts onto it and spread it out into a single layer.
- Once the oven has reached 350F, put the tray in the oven and roast it for 10 minutes
- Once 10 minutes is up, remove the cookie sheet from the oven and gently flip the walnuts and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Make sure it is still in a single layer so the walnuts don't stick together
- Remove the tray from the oven. If the nuts don't look brown and roasted enough, add it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. If it still isn't brown enough, bake it for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Let the walnuts cool for at least 30-40 minutes before storing or eating it.
Stove Top Instructions
- Using a frying pan, set the stove to low heat and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil into it.
- Add in the walnuts and toast it for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you keep moving the walnuts by mixing it so they don't burn. Keep them on a single layer.
- Once the walnuts have cooked for 10-15 minutes, pour them out onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If the walnuts don't look toasted enough, continue to toast it for another 2-3 minutes.
- Spread them out into a single layer and let it cool for at least 30-40 before storing them or eating it.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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