Cinnamon Fireside Walnuts, A Vegan Christmas Favorite
Looking for a vegan holiday candy that's easy to make and completely delicious? Try this recipe for Vegan Cinnamon Fireside Walnuts - they're sure to please any sweet tooth, and are vegan-safe.
Because this candy involves cooking a sugar syrup until it changes texture and forms a soft ball, using a candy thermometer is an excellent idea. Though experienced candy cooks can probably successfully "guesstimate" when to start testing for the soft ball stage, a thermometer is a big plus.
Syrups generally move into the soft ball stage at at temperature range of 235 to 245 degrees. To reach that temperature the syrup must cook for some time, so be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pan to minimize the chance of scorching.
When you insert the candy thermometer into the sugar syrup, be sure the tip of the thermometer is submerged in the syrup but is not touching the bottom of the pan. If the tip comes in contact with the pan bottom you'll get an inaccurate reading.
2 1/2 C walnut halves
2 Tbs vegan butter substitute (NuCoa Margarine and Butter-Flavor Crisco are recommended)
1 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, while arranging walnuts in large oven-safe dish or tray. Heat walnuts for 5 minutes, stirring once. Use 1 tablespoon of the vegan butter substitute to coat the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. In it, combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture is boiling.
If you're using a candy thermometer, insert it now. Use the clip on the thermometer to make sure it's positioned properly, with the tip submerged in the syrup but not touching the bottom of the pan. Cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 235 degrees, then start testing for soft ball. Spoon a few drops of the syrup into a cup of cold water, then using your fingers, gently press the drops of syrup together. If you get a soft, flexible ball, you've reached the soft ball stage and are ready to move on.
Remove from heat and beat by hand until the mixture begins to get creamy. Add the vanilla and warm nuts and stir gently until the nuts are well-coated. Use the remaining tablespoon of vegan butter substitute to coat a platter or cookie sheet. Turn nut mixture out onto prepared surface and separate the nuts immediately, using two forks.
This recipe makes about a pound of delicious vegan nut confection.
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Check out my other holiday articles on Christmas lighting ideas and Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments.