How can you improve upon fresh delicious nuts? How about coating them in crunchy caramel? This recipe for caramel nuts produces crispy nuts that are coated in a sweet, crunchy layer of caramelized brown sugar. They're savory but sweet, with a nice rich buttery undertone and just the right amount of salt to keep them interesting.
Try adding them to your favorite trail mix, or chop them up to add to your morning bowl of granola or yogurt. More of a dessert fan? Stir them into cookie dough or brownie batter, or chop and add to the tops of cakes, cupcakes, or even tarts.
We just call for "nuts" in this recipe because it is flexible, but a favorite way to make these is to use pecan halves. Walnuts are probably my second choice, but you really can't go wrong with any nut! Try hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, or even peanuts.
- 12 oz (3 cups) un-toasted nuts (pecan or walnuts halves recommended)
- 3.75 oz (1/2 cup) lightly packed brown sugar
- 2.75 oz (1/4 cup) light corn syrup
- 2 oz (4 tbsp or 1/2 stick) butter (cut into pieces)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Place the nuts in a 9x13-inch baking pan, and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts and sugar dissolves, and let the whole mixture come to a slow boil.
Boil the mixture for four minutes without stirring. Once the four minutes is up, remove the pan immediately from the heat. Add the vanilla and baking soda to the brown sugar mixture in the pan, and stir it in quickly.
Immediately pour the bubbling brown sugar mixture over the nuts in the pan, and stir until the nuts are thoroughly coated with the caramel.
Place the pan in the preheated oven, and bake the caramel nuts for 40 minutes, stirring after every 10 minutes to prevent burning. As they bake, they'll darken in color and emit a wonderful caramel smell.
After 40 minutes, remove the nuts from the oven. Scrape them onto a baking sheet covered with foil or a silicone baking liner. Separate the nuts with a fork so they're not clumped up. Allow them to cool completely at room temperature. If you do have any big chunks of nuts, break them up once they're cool and crunchy.
Enjoy your caramel nuts immediately, or store them in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to two weeks.