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Recipe: Candied Walnut Cupcake Topping

November 23, 2008
Photo for illustration purposes

Recipe by Eileen Talabian

These homemade candied walnuts would go perfectly with a spicy or pumpkin cupcake.

Think cream cheese frosting with a light drizzle of caramel sauce and topped with these candied walnuts. Perfect for the holidays! You can find the recipe for caramel sauce here on my blog.

You can easily double or triple this recipe. The nuts are crunchy and sweet, and the tiny pinch of cayenne gives them an unexpected bite, which is reminiscent of those little red hot cinnamon candies. Baking them for a short time makes them crunchy and delicious.

For the first step:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup walnut halves

For the second step:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment.

For the first step, combine the granulated sugar and water in a heavy 1-quart saucepan, bringing it to a gentle boil over medium high heat.

When the syrup starts to boil, reduce to heat so the syrup is simmering, and add the walnut halves.

Stir frequently, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.

While the walnuts simmer, combine the sugar and spices for the second step in a wide, shallow bowl. When the walnuts are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the syrup and drop the walnuts into the sugar and spice mixture.

Toss the nuts in the spiced sugar until they are completely coated. Lift them from the sugar mixture with a slotted spoon and place them on the parchment-lined baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire rack until the nuts are cool. Store the Candied Walnuts in an airtight container for up to one month.

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