This is a simple and fast way to candy a small batch of nuts. Most nuts will take only 5 minutes in the fry pan, larger nuts such as hazelnuts up to 8 minutes. For larger amounts check out my Candied Almonds.

Nut Facts:

Walnuts selected for in-shell sale are fumigated or heat treated to kill insects in storage. The in-shell nuts are then bleached using a dilute solution of bleach.

Shelled walnuts are not bleached. However they may be treated with an anti-oxidant to preserve them in storage.

Recommendation: buy organic, in-shell or organic, shelled.

Besides buying organic there is one more requirement: freshness. Stores sell nuts way past their prime. Buying nuts in the shell does not ensure freshness. Beware especially of prepackaged shelled nuts, they are expensive and can contain taste altering preservatives. Purchase shelled nuts from stores that have high turnover of stock. Otherwise stick to the gourmet specialty store and pay the inflated price. Or plant a tree. We did. While I cook, Jim oftentimes sits at the table shelling walnuts. He packs them in sturdy plastic containers, labels and dates them and takes them down to the freezer.

About a week before Christmas, after the stores have rid themselves of the old stock, that is when the fresh nuts appear. Besides tasting, there are visual signs to look for; discoloration and worn edges that suggest rancidity. It is especially easy to see it in walnuts and sliced almonds. Rancid nuts are toxic and roasting or baking with them may mask the rancidity somewhat, but will not rid them of the toxicity or carcinogenic properties. Rancid nuts smell bad and look discolored. Rancidity is fat gone stale. If I end up with less than perfect quality nuts, I take them back to the store right of way. Shelled nuts from bulk bins should not be kept in the cupboard. Pack them first in freezer bags, and put them in the freezer. The thin plastic bag they came in is no protection from freezer burn. 

Candied Nuts

2 cups of shelled nuts
1/8 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
salt to taste

  • Line a large tray with parchment paper.
  • Place a heavy fry pan on medium heat. [Don’t use your non stick skillet for this]
  • Add all the ingredients to the fry pan.
  • Set the timer for 5 minutes, [8 minutes for hazelnuts].
  • As the butter and the sugar melts, start stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Continue stirring until the timer goes off.
  • Immediately transfer nuts to the prepared tray. Don’t worry if they stick together.
  • Once the nuts cool down to room temperature it will be easy to break them apart.
  • Pack the candied nuts into a lidded container and store them in the fridge. 

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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!