I'm getting ready to move back home to the garden state after a two year break in Boulder, CO. I am, of course, swimming daily in a sea of boxes which doesn't much faze me. What does get under my skin is the thought of wasting any food. I've tried to manage my pantry over the past month so that everything was used up before the big pack. Inevitably, there are things that can never get used in time. But for some strange reason, all of those nuts seem to get eaten a little bit faster when they are candied.
This is seriously one of the easiest things you can whip up and keep on hand in your pantry. I use them in salads, on ice cream, for cheese plates, with cocktails...you get it. They take about 8 minutes total and will make you very, very happy.
maple candied walnuts
2 c walnuts
2 T Land O Lakes butter with olive oil and sea salt*
scant 1/4 c of maple syrup
Lay out a piece of parchment paper or a silpat on your counter. Heat a non-stick skillet to about medium heat, add the butter and walnuts. Shake the pan to get the melting butter to coat the walnuts. Keep stirring and shaking the pan to evenly toast the nuts. After a few (4-5) minutes when they begin to develop a little color and become fragrant, add the maple syrup. Shake, stir...basically just keep everything moving so they don't burn.
Once the nuts are a beautifully bronzed and all of the maple syrup has been absorbed by the nuts, give them a few grinds of the black pepper. Shake around a bit more and pour them onto the silpat, taking care to separate them.
Let them cool before you pop one in your mouth. They keep well in an air-tight container for about two weeks but they won't last that long.
* I was recently involved in testing a new product and creating recipes for Land O Lakes so I had a lot of their new butter with olive oil and sea salt on hand. No plug intended...it really is some good stuff. The sea saltiness happens to work really well with the maple syrup, as you can imagine. You can easily just use butter and add some sea salt instead.