I have a really hard time getting Christmas presents for my dad. My other family members are pretty easy, but my dad is nearly impossible. He never really seems to like any gift I’ve ever given him. UNTIL I made these Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts for him last Christmas. I lovingly call them deez nuts, because my entire family has the sense of humor of a 16 year old. But if you are an adult, calling them Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts will do.
Homemade gifts are the best gifts. I make a lot of candles, body butter and sugar scrubs to give as gifts. None of those items seem compatible with me Dad. The only way to get to him is through food. But the problem is, he’s such a creature of habit that he doesn’t really want a fancy bottle of olive oil. He only wants the Bertolli one that my mom always buys. So, when we made these Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts last Christmas, I knew it would be a recurring gift because they were gone within the week!
Ingredients + Substitutions
This recipe is only 5 ingredients. Granulated sugar, water, cinnamon, walnuts and a pinch of salt. For the walnuts, opt for walnut halves rather than pieces here. Pieces will work, but halves look nicer and this is a gift after all- even if its a gift to yourself! OR don’t opt for walnuts at all! Pecan halves would be a great substitution.
You can also get really fancy and swap the cinnamon for pumpkin spice, or a chai spice blend. Any warm baking spice blend would be so good of these Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts. But as I said above, my dad is a creature of habit and is fairly averse to trying new things, so I stick with cinnamon.
Candied Walnut Method Notes
There are SO many methods for candying nuts. This method is by far my favorite. Combining the sugar and water in large a heavy bottom stainless steel skillet over medium heat creates a heavy simple syrup. Then, when the walnuts are added and stirred, the syrup coats the nuts, then crystallizes onto them, creating a crunchy, cinnamon sugar coating.
The most important thing for this method is to make sure that once you have stirred the nuts into the syrup, you turn the heat off. If you don’t turn the heat off, the sugar will take much longer to crystallize and then the nuts run the risk of burning.
If you, like me, have a picky and hard to purchase for member of the family who loves food, make these Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts. And if your family, like mine, has the sense of humor of a bunch of 16 year olds, definitely call them Deez Nuts.
Cinnamon Sugar Candied Walnuts
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1 Pound Walnut Halves
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt Less if using fine grain salt!
- In a large, heavy bottomed stainless steel skillet, combine water and sugar. Stir together with a metal spoon, and turn the heat to medium high.
- Stirring occasionally, cook the sugar and water until it boils. Then allow it to boil for 1 minute.
- Add walnuts, cinnamon and salt. Stir to coat everything in the syrup, then turn the burner off.
- Continue stirring until the sugar has crystallized. This will take about 1 minute.
- Allow to cool in the pan, then pack them up for give as a gift or begin snacking.