What a thing to have a sweet tooth. Anyone who has a sweet tooth knows what it’s like to have a craving for the sweet and sugary, to bite into something that clouds the senses in tooth-achingly luscious decadence. Unfortunately, sweets are rarely ever bought in my household, and through years of mental brainwashing by my mother, even now I endure an internal battle of epic proportions every time I’m walking through the supermarket and happen past the candy and chocolates section.
Even if I have a craving, I usually end up walking away and scowling at myself (so if you ever see me walking around the supermarket with a frown on my face, it’s because I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy a treat for the abuse my brain keeps dishing out in my mother’s voice – “NO! BAD CANDY! CALORIES CALORIES CALORIES!”), which has meant that many a time I’ve been left with my sweet tooth unsatisfied.
Candied Walnut Caramels Recipe
With the purchase of my candy thermometer last year, I thankfully do not have to put up with many temper tantrums from my sweet tooth, as my fridge now usually contains marshmallows, peanut brittle, honeycomb, or chocolate-covered pralines.
My ma isn’t too happy about this development (I’ve lost count of the number of times she’s looked me in the eye and cursed my name while chowing down on any one of the aforementioned sweets), however seems to have fewer reservations about these home-made treats than their store-bought counterparts. However, there’s one problem.
Variety. Or the lack thereof.
You see, there’s only so many times you can have chocolate covered nut pralines, and despite how wonderful they are, the sweet tooth starts complaining. And don’t tell me you don’t know what that’s like – any craving is akin to a temper tantrum in that there is no logic, no rhyme nor reason, it must be satisfied and satisfied now.
Also Try: Korean Seaweed Soup Recipe
My mind wandered back to my failed chewy caramels attempt. That would be a GREAT candy to have in the repetoire, but I still felt a little disheartened from my caramels complete and utter refusal to harden up. I browsed food blog after food blog looking for more candy recipes but my mind was stuck on making caramels, and till I did, no other candy was going to satisfy either mouth or mind.
Just when I thought all was lost, the April edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller came to the rescue! Having taken out a subscription to this wonderful magazine at the beginning of the year, this month’s edition had landed on my doorstep yesterday afternoon and I dropped what I was doing to paw through it’s pages, my eyes hungrily devouring one glossy picture after another.
Oh, so many delicious looking treats! And then, I saw it. A double page spread on the walnuts with a little breakout box that contained a recipe for candied walnut honey caramels!
Guess what I did next? 😀
Well, I’d like to say that I raced off to the kitchen to make these divine bites of honeyed heaven, but unfortunately I had neither walnuts nor honey in my pantry, and with the rain pouring down as if the skies had broken apart, I needed a lift to get to the grocery store.
Cue image of me gnashing my teeth for the next 4 hours while waiting for my pops to get home with the car.
After finally making it to the shops at 10pm, I raced around like a bat out of hell, careening around corners with my trolley, eyes popping out of my head till at last I could hold my coveted bag of walnuts and tub of honey to my chest.
I may or may not have let out a gutteral “my preciousssss”, at this stage, I’ll leave that up to your imagination! Managed to get back home without falling apart from my nerves, and immediately set up the kitchen for my assault on caramel-land.
They’re good. They’re good enough that me, my sister and my ma braved the straight-off-the-stove mixture in order to devour some immediately. Not exactly a candy that you can give away as they never completely harden, but storing them in your fridge keeps them relatively firm and also means that can only really have one at a time (hah! Portion control!) as once removed they do begin to go a bit soft and melty.
Also Try: Perfect And Easy Caramel Sauce Recipe
The next time I make these, I am making a double quantity so I can really pack in the nuts and turn them into little bars 😀 And trust me – there will definetely be a next time!
Candied Walnut Honey Caramels Recipe Ingredients
- 360g (1 cup) strongly flavoured honey (such as leatherwood)
- 250mL (1 cup) thickened cream
- 400g (2 cups) unsalted roasted walnuts
- Zest from 1 orange
How to Make Candied Walnut Recipe
1. Lightly toss together orange zest and walnuts in a bowl and set aside. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
2. Heat honey and cream in a saucepan with high sides (this mixture is prone to lots of foaming!) over medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes or till mixture reaches 125 degrees C (firm ball stage).
3. Pour walnut mixture into the caramel and stir well to combine, then place tablespoonfuls of the caramel nut mix onto the baking trays. Refrigerate till set, then place into an airtight container that has been lined with non-stick baking paper. Only store in single layers, making sure to place a sheet of baking paper between each layer of candy.
Also Try: Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe
4. Store in the fridge and dip in every now and then for a caramelly, nutty bite 🙂
The sweetness of these candied walnut is a lot milder than with caramels made with sugar, and since they’re made with honey the flavour seems to have more depth and smoothness to it.
Unfortunately, you do need a candy thermometer or know the different stages of sugar-cooking as since this is boiled with cream from the outset, it can’t be eyeballed for colour. These days you can get a candy thermometer for fairly cheap from baking specialty stores, so I’d highly recommend getting one as I think it’s a very worthwhile investment 🙂