Vanilla and Cinnamon Candied Nuts

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Have you ever seen, or better yet, smelled those vanilla, candy coated nuts that are sold at fairs or amusement parks? My nose has a keen sense for them. I will often overlook the ridiculous price and purchase a small pouch of them to snack on. Not only satisfying to a sweet tooth, they are filling so you don't need much of them.

I like to make theses candied nuts to garnish salads for a sweet surprising crunch. After candying the nuts, lightly chop and toss on salad. They pare nicely with a balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese. A contrast of sweet and sour.

As we have been making gifts for teachers, I needed a small gift for a teacher who eats gluten-free. With all the vanilla and cinnamon we've used lately and a bag of almonds from Costco hardly used, I knew what to make. Pecans are popular and candy well, but I am not a fan of pecans {unless they are in a Honey Crunch Pecan Pie}. Try candying your favorite nut or a mix.

An added bonus of making these as a gift for someone is the aroma which will fill your home. It's pure vanilla heaven. Oh, and there will probably be a few bits of nuts leftover that won't quite fit the container you fill for gifting. Those are a fringe benefit, too.


Vanilla and Cinnamon Candied Nuts
2 c nuts of choice
3/4 c white sugar
1/3 c water
2 tsp vanilla**
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Place nuts on cookie sheet. Toast for 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice to stir. Alternately, in a frying pan without any oil, cook nuts over medium-high heat until browned.

Combine sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon in deep saucepan. Heat to a boil. Add toasted nuts and stir, continuing to cook until water has evaporated and nuts are coated in a sticky syrup {10 minutes over medium~high heat}.  Remove from heat and spread on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or foil to cool.

 *Update~ Some seem to have trouble getting the sugar to crystallize. {And many have left helpful comments with times and other tips.}
You must continue to stir and cook the nuts in the sugary syrup until it is ALL gone,  just candied nuts. {The picture below is just before crystallizing; syrup is bubbly but almost gone.}
This happens after about 10 minutes from adding the nuts to the boiling syrup while continuing to cook over medium~high heat, though it may take 15 minutes or more.  
The nuts will be difficult to stir because of the lack of liquid and the sticky coating, but it will not be burnt.  
REMOVE the pan from the heat before they burn once the liquid is gone, and spread them out to cool and harden.
This has been an easy process for me so I hope that it works for you! 

Here's a note from Jill {see her full comment below}~
"Just made these and I actually set a timer to see how long it took to crystallize. Mine only took 6 minutes. I don't know if its because I cooked them a little too high or if its because I'm 5200 feet above sea level. Either way they turned out pretty well."



Tips and Tricks~
*Double the recipe to have some on hand for holiday guests.
*Store nuts in air tight container for snacking or tossing in a salad.
*Use different spices. Perhaps cocoa and chili powder for a spicy blend.
*Soak pan for an hour to make clean~up easy.
**If making gluten~free, make certain vanilla is gluten~free.



Pin It

74 comments:

  1. Sheila, these look delicious :) What a great gift idea too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfect. Christmas - watch out. We're having these nuts!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous7:35 PM

    Wonderful gift idea! You have to make sure to cook for the stated 10 minutes. The sticky syrup should not be sticky - you will see the transformation before your eyes! From sticky caramel to fully coated in a few minutes. I am not used to making candy so it took me a couple tries. Very yummy though! The first batch won't go to waste.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad you kept at it and got it to work.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:23 AM

    Do you use a vanilla powder or a vanilla essence? I want to make them as delicious as possible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use pure vanilla extract. I've never used powder form; I'll have to look for it and try it sometime.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous1:20 PM

      I know heat affects the flavor of vanilla, making it bitter, which is why cooked puddings call for the vanilla to be added at the end, off the heat. Have you ever tried this adding the vanilla at the very end, when the liquid is just about gone? I wonder if that would enhance the vanilla flavor, or if it would result in the vanilla not being evenly distributed over the nuts. I'm going to try both ways, and I'll report back. Because these sound really good!

      Delete
    3. I love experimenting with recipes. I do know that vanilla is usually added at the end of sauces but I thought because of the evaporation. Maybe this has enough sugar to off set any bitterness. I do use the Madagascar vanilla which is pretty strong.

      I think I will try these this season with orange extract and cinnamon!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Yes, any kinds of nuts, peanuts, cashews. . .

      Delete
  7. Those look absolutely delicious! I am following you as of....now. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hopefully I'll be getting some new posts up for the Fall season.

      Delete
  8. These look great. I'm definitely going to try them this Christmas. Where do you buy your gift tins from though?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Simona! I usually get my tins at Michael's or Target. The ones in the picture were from Michael's.

      Delete
    2. Dollar Tree has great tins for only a buck!! That's where I get all of mine from!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, Ashley!

      Delete
  9. Anonymous10:32 PM

    The recipe calls for white sugar, is this powdered sugar or granulated sugar?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Granulated sugar should be used.

      Delete
  10. Has anyone tried adding coffee, bourbon, or rum to this for an additional flavor option?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't, but that is a superb suggestion! I'll have to try that this season.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous1:26 PM

      I have and oh my goodness YUM!!! I used instant coffee granules and rum and it's amazing. Try it - you'll be hooked!

      Delete
    3. Now that sounds like a party in a can!

      Delete
    4. Janice9:12 AM

      Can you tell us how much rum and coffee granules you used? Did you use them both in the same batch?

      Delete
    5. I have not yet tied it. I will do it this season. Plan to use 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules and a fourth a cup of rum.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous6:52 PM

    Mine seemed to start to get fluffy but then turned liquid again....I wound up with like a toffee that had no flavor what did I do wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you cook them until the liquid completely crystallized? Cook until it seems almost impossible to stir. If you see the last picture in the post, that's what the pan looks like at the end of cooking. Their shouldn't be any liquid left.

      I think the fluffiness you are describing is the stage just before crystallizing when the sugar water is still boiling. Keep cooking and stirring. I hope that works for you.

      I don't use a candy thermometer with this, but you may want to use one and let it reach the hard crackle stage on the thermometer before you turn the heat off.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Just a suggestion, could you put more of a description of what it should start looking like? Just like the previous reply? I don't normally read through comments, so I didn't see that. And I wasn't sure what it was supposed to turn out like...and looking at my cookie sheet they didn't look exactly "crystallized" so Im putting them in the oven to try to do so.. next time I will know.

    I choose this recipe over the other blog I was on because the latter was a 4 hour process! I don't have that kind of time! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Thanks for the suggestion. This is really a quick process but I know if you miss that final stage, it can mess the whole thing up.

      Delete
  13. Just made these and I actually set a timer to see how long it took to crystallize. Mine only took 6 minutes. I don't know if its because I cooked them a little too high or if its because I'm 5200 feet above sea level. Either way they turned out pretty well. The only difference is my pan looked dry after I poured them out. Great flavor. Will definately make again with different flavor combo's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for you scientific input! I'm thinking of doing orange extract and cinnamon this year. The combinations are pretty limitless. Have fun!

      Delete
  14. Try a 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper with the cocoa powder for a little more kick.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Delicious and so easy to make!!! 8 minutes and liquid was all gone....1 day and the batch will be gone lol!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes. These aren't even safe around my children. Everyone loves them!

      Delete
  16. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Saw this post on pinterest! this looks very do-able, and they are on my to-try list for December treat-making. :) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful! I hope you enjoy them. I keep coming back to these, again and again. I make a batch for a couple of gifts, then I make a batch for our home.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous3:17 PM

    Awesome! I'm from Germany, where we have Christmas Markets at every corner and one of the best treats are these o-so-delish cinnamon-vanilla almonds. Looooove them, but you're absolutely right, they are expensive, so I rarely ever buy them. I'm so happy you shared this with us. I'll try it out asap and knowing my family...bettertriple up the batch.... sigh, rolling eyes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we had Christmas markets on every corner, I would quickly run out of money and clothes that fit!

      Delete
  18. Anonymous8:43 PM

    Will this recipe work with Spelda or a sugar substitute?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I honestly do not know, but I do not think it would work.

      The cooking process with these is very much like making candy. I know that the sugar and water become hard, like candy, and do not know enough about Splenda and artificial sweeteners to know if it would work. Perhaps do a search for making candy with these before testing it out.

      Sorry to not be more helpful. Hope you can make this work for you though!

      Delete
  19. These were absolutely delicious! I'm not much of a candy maker, but these are easy! It took 6 minutes for mine to crystallize as well. The transformation is quick! I used pecans and I found after toasting them, some turned a little bitter. Is the toasting step absolutely necessary?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they need toasted. I have tried these without toasting the nuts and they don't get crunchy.

      You can soak the nuts (pecans and walnuts especially) in warm water for five minutes. Drain them and let them dry or add some extra toasting time.

      Hope this helps!

      Delete
  20. I just tried this recipe, and it is deeeelicious! I've always loved the smell, crunch and taste of the sugary roasted almonds you see for sale all over the place, but am too cheap to buy them. This was super easy, and I love that it doesn't use egg whites, since I eat egg free. My crystallization took about 7 minutes...I'm also at high altitude, but I don't know if that's why. My pan was pretty dry when I poured them out. I did a mixture of almonds, pecans and cashews- YUM. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, I find it rewarding that I can make something so delicious!

      Thanks for including your time!

      Delete
  21. Sheila since my original attempt I have made 5 additional batches of these. 1 batch of coffee and cocoa which were not quite as tasty as the long cooking process gives them more of a burnt coffee flavor. I used Starbucks Via instant coffee. I also did 1 batch of orange and clove which were quite tasty. Just be gentle with the amount of clove as it can overpower the orange easily. And by far my most favorite batch has been the cinnamon and vanilla on pecans! Amazing in salads! All of my batches have still only taken about 6 minutes even at a little lower temp. Thanks again for sharing this recipe. It's a huge hit with everybody that has tried it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great ideas! I really like the coffee idea. Maybe I'll try soaking the nuts in coffee and let them dry before toasting them and candying them.

      Delete
  22. Making these today for Christmas gifts. I'll let you know how they turn out! They look amazing!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Made a double batch and they turned out great!! Were done in 5-6 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy they turned out so well for you! Merry Christmas :-)

      Delete
  24. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Thank you for the recipe..I just made two batches..it looks beautiful and it does transform before your eyets. I liked this technique better than the egg white technique. And they do taste excellent:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never tried the egg white recipe though I'm certain that gives them a nice shine. I do find this technique easy and tasty!

      Delete
  25. I love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it!
    I was just about to make another batch..but i'm out of sugar :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, thankfully most corner convenience stores sell sugar just for these situations :-)

      Delete
  26. Anonymous4:21 PM

    Made a triple batch (pretty brave for a first timer)........followed everyone's tips, and they came out great. One of the best tips was "they transform before your eyes"..........That was the key! Just keep on cooking and stirring until they turn into fluffy cinnamon delights. Because I made a triple batch, I did it in a spaghetti pot, and it took a little over 15 minutes for the liquid to evaporate......seemed like they would never be done......but I just kept cooking, and before my eyes they turned into greatness. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I don't even make triple batches; I'm such a wimp. It's helpful to know it worked out for you!

      Delete
  27. Anonymous5:50 PM

    I have been thinking about these all day and came home to create them. I followed directions to a tee but once the "transform before your eyes" event happened, the fluffiness turned to black burnt sugar with no crystallization at all! I forged onward clinging to the "stir until all liquid is gone" comment to no avail. I have a gigantic pile of black syrupy almonds that look like cockroaches. So, what did I do wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear! That is disappointing. Are you using a high heat? Maybe they are getting too hot, too fast. As soon as they are fluffy, they should be done. That being said, I'm thinking of fluffy as in airy, no liquid, and immediately remove them from the heat {even off of the burner that was used}. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  28. What a lovely recipe. Thanks for sharing your beautiful information.
    Spices powder
    Food gifts

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous8:02 PM

    I made these, substituting sugar for maple syrup and only 1/2 of a cup. I also added half a tablespoon of coffee grounds. I'm still ify on whether or not I should sprinkle some sea salt on them. It just seems so risky! :)Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coffee sounds amazing! I think the sea salt might be a great contrast to the sweet.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Hi, these sound great! I wanted to ask how long you can keep these in a container for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've kept them in mason jars for a few weeks to give as gifts. They still have great flavor and crunch. They didn't last a day or so after giving them or making them just because they were eaten. So I don't know if they last longer than 3 weeks but probably would in an air tight container.

      Delete
  31. Anonymous3:42 PM

    ** YOU ARE WORKING WAY TO HARD TO HAVE A DELICIOUS TREAT **

    Try this way!! I have been making these for 40 yrs and give as Christmas gifts every year. Candy at least 30 pounds every year.

    If you happen to have any problem with them not setting place on a cookie sheet place in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Sometimes the weather has kept them from setting!!!!!

    Still any kind of nut can be used

    Candied Pecans

    ¼ tsp. salt
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    5 Tbs. water
    Mix all together and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. (on my stove between 4 &5 , do watch, it will BURN , if to high)
    At the same time that the sugar mixture is cooking, place 1 lb. Pecans in a preheated oven of 250 F. Toasting time is the same as the sugar mixture (10mins)

    DO NOT STIR SUGAR MIXTURE WHILE COOKING

    Remove sugar mixture from heat .

    Add 1 tsp. vanilla and toasted pecans , stirring to coat well. Spread out onto waxed paper, separate with a fork.

    I love doing these because you have a wonderful treat in 10 minutes!
    Enjoy !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip though it doesn't really seem that the methods are different. I'll compare them more closely and give it a try if it seems different. Thanks again!

      Delete
  32. Houston, Tx11:03 PM

    16.5 mins on an electric stove set at 7

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous2:16 PM

    these are DELICIOUS! we get them every year at fairs and such and i knew they couldnt be hard to make. so on my day off thats just what i did! :) turned out just like the ones we buy! and sooooo easy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Too good! Wow! First time maker here. Super easy. Thank you! I'm out of eggs so I chose your recipe. I cannot imagine I am missing anything.
    Also, I timed mine; it took about 7-8 minutes, stirring continuously.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never made the one with eggs and agree that this one is so easy. Thanks for your time, too!

      Delete
  35. Ive made 3 batches of these, the first was perfect but the last 2 , the almonds were soft and mushy not sure why, the coatng was perfect but the almonds got soft???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Sure why either.
      1. Did you toast them before you candied the almonds? I need to be toasted to be crunchy .
      2. Did you bring ingredients to a boil before adding the almonds? You don't want to have the almonds until the ingredients have boiled, so the almonds don't soak up any of the liquid.

      I'm sorry that the two batches didn't work. I've made these multiple times and I don't recall having that problem. If I find out something I will be certain to reply again.

      Delete
  36. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Do you think brown sugar would work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think so, at least not without tweaking. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses so the cooking properties would differ I imagine.

      Delete

Catching my breath. Be back ASAP.