Posted by: Jonjon | December 29, 2008

Candied Walnut 8.5/10




Candied Walnut Salad 8.5/10 with Walnut Vinaigrette

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Candied-Walnut-Salad-with-Walnut-Vinaigrette/Detail.aspx

The sauce
• 1 teaspoon butter 5g
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar 40g
• 5 ounces walnut halves 130g

Did not do the bottom half.
• 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 2-1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
• 2-1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chervil
• 3 tablespoons walnut oil
• 3 tablespoons peanut oil
• 3-1/2 ounces arugula leaves or spring mix
• salt to taste
• ground multi-colored peppercorns to taste
• Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
• Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, and cook until the sugar has melted and turned deep brown – but not burnt, 5 to 8 minutes.
• Once the sugar has browned, stir in walnut halves until coated with caramelized sugar. Spread out onto prepared baking sheet, and place into preheated oven. Cook until the center of the walnuts have just turned a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool until warm or room temperature.
• Whisk the vinegar together with the chives, parsley, dill, and chervil. Whisk in walnut and peanut oils until well combined.
• To serve, toss the arugula with enough dressing to moisten in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place onto salad plates and garnish with candied walnuts.

Conclusion
I just did the candied walnut part, because I”ve always been curious as to how caramels or sugar coatings are produced. It actually takes a bit of experience to caramelize the sugar. At first I melted the butter and added in the brown sugar. I put it on the lowest heat as possible and nothing happened after 10 minutes. So I turned the knob up one more, and the brown sugar started to caramelize, like turn dark brown liquid. I added the nuts in, which consisted of cashews, almonds, walnuts and pecans. However, here is the crucial step. Melted sugar solidifies really quickly, so as soon as a bit leaves off the pan, i.e gets stuck on top of a nut, it will solidify, and this will destroy the even distribution of brown sugar. So what you need is a relatively flat pan, which I didn’t have, and then spread the nuts evenly rather than throwing into your pan like I did. This will ensure that the nuts get even distribution of sugar. It tasted very good, in fact, better than the commercial made ones, but it’s too unhealthy for me to make it again.

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