The last cooking lesson I received in Korea taught me how to make a candy (or cookie, as Koreans tend to refer to them) that I’d previously been gifted for Christmas…we’d been lusting after it ever since.
These are no ordinary candied walnuts. The nuts are first parboiled, to remove any bitterness. They are marinated in a honey syrup that is gradually reduced, laminating the nuts to a high sheen. Finally, the nuts are fried at a high temperature, up to the soft-crack stage, to create a crispy inside and slightly hard, slightly gooey exterior.
When you make these, be sure to watch the temperature of the oil with a candy thermometer. When placing them on a plate to dry, make sure the walnuts are not touching. You can alter the proportions of the recipe, but make sure to use half the weight of the nuts in sugar (I used 60 grams of walnuts and 30 grams of sugar).
Finally, Koreans call this a “winter candy” since the heat and humidity of summertime can make these sticky to the touch. Cool dry weather lets them cool so they can be handled without licking your fingers…so I say you can have these any time of year.
Try them and tell me what you think. If you use other nuts, I’d love to see how they turn out…
60 grams of nuts
200 grams or 1 cup of water
30 grams of 2 full tablespoons of sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 bottle of vegetable oil for frying
1.) Boil your water. Remove the pan from heat and add in walnuts. Soak for 5-10 minutes to remove the bitterness from the walnuts.
2.) Drain the nuts. Add sugar to the pan and place nuts on top of sugar. Add enough water to just cover the nuts. Add a pinch of salt.
3.) Boil the water, the reduce heat to low. Spoon the syrup over the nuts until the amount of liquid has been reduced by half.
4.) Stir in honey. Continue to spoon the syrup over the nuts until only 3 tablespoons of syrup remain.
5.) Drain the nuts. Heat your oil in a large pan to 140 C. Maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process. Carefully place nuts in the oil and stir constantly. There will be lots of bubbles!
6.) When the bubbles surrounding the nuts almost disappear, and when the color is golden brown, remove the nuts carefully using a strainer.
Spread the nuts on a disk, separating them lest they stick together. Let cool completely before eating.