Warning: If you lack self control, do not make these! I am having a very hard time not devouring them, and I really want them to be around to top my salad tonight.
I am notorious for hanging out in the kitchen creating things that I end up loving but that I cannot recreate because I don't remember what I did. That's why I am loving this website. It is holding me accountable for writing things down as I go so I can share them and record them here. I bought some walnuts last night in bulk on a whim. I decided to candy them for a salad topping, but I couldn't find a recipe that looked good. I didn't want Christmas-y cinnamon walnuts, but a more fruity, summer flavor. I came up with this recipe and love it. If you do want a different flavor, this recipe is easy to adapt. Just omit the fruity ingredients, and add your favorite spices instead.
Alicia's Candied Walnuts
approximately 1 cup of walnut halves - can be a little more or a little less
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon blackberry preserves (you can use any type of preserves in your fridge, or you can skip this entirely)
1 tablespoon orange juice
6 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350, and toast your walnuts on a baking sheet (approximately 8-10 minutes). Check them to make sure you don't overdo it!
Meanwhile, cook sugar, preserves, juice, and milk over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads around 235 degrees (again, approx. 8-10 minutes). The temperature does not have to be exact. You'll want the mixture to have thickened and to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla. At this point, dump in your walnuts, stir them to coat, then pour the mixture onto a piece of wax paper. Immediately spread your walnuts out (use a fork, it is HOT!) so they are not touching. Let cool on the counter, then break up and store in an airtight container.
I chose to chop these before toasting and coating, but they work well either way. Also, if you put these in a cute jar and tie it with a pretty ribbon, they'd make a great gift. Enjoy!