Sugar Coated & Caramelized Nuts, Pralines


Science of Sugar

When sugar is heated, it melts. When the melted sugar is cooled, it forms white crystals.  This is called crystallization.

When the melted sugar is patiently heated, it turns brown and has a savory aroma. This change is called caramelization. It is a different reaction from the Maillard reaction that is often seen in cooking. However, just like the Maillard reaction, it is quite complex with many different reactions taking place.

Now, in order to sugar or caramelize nuts or soybeans, you just need to let the crystallization or caramelization occur while the nuts and sugar are together. In other words, you just need to heat the nuts and sugar patiently. It’s very simple.

Types of Sugar and Caramelization

I tried it with various sugars.

White sugar and raw sugar were able to crystallize and caramelize without any problems. I love Okinawa’s raw sugar peanuts, and I think I can mass produce them in Finland with this.

The maple syrup crystallized and caramelized fine. But the aroma was not as good as I expected. However, it had a more complex aroma and a more elegant sweetness than the one made with white sugar, so I would recommend this one as well.

The original hardness of honey varies. Some honeys crystallize easily in their original state, while others do not. The reason for this is that the ratio of fructose and glucose in the honey varies depending on the species of flower. However, both fructose and glucose are solid at room temperature. I think any honey will crystallize or caramelize without a problem if you heat it and remove the water.
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As for caramelization, you can also caramelize the sugar first and then add the nuts to it. I tried this recipe before, but it left quite a bit of sugar on the spatula and pan, and it was a waste.

Also, many recipes call for butter to be added along with the sugar when it is dissolved. I think the goal is to add saltiness and flavor. However, when I have heated butter together before, it has become quite sticky even after cooling. So in this recipe, I added the butter just before it was finished, to coat the caramel around it.

Sugar Coated & Caramelized Nuts, Pralines

Make sugar coated & caramelized nuts with walnuts, almonds, cashews, or any nuts you like, with black sugar, maple syrup, any sugar you like.
Prep Time0 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rest After Cook1 hr
Servings100 g nuts
Sugar coated
  • nuts of your choice 100 g
  • sugar 50 g
  • water 1 Tbsp
  • nuts of your choice 100 g
  • sugar 50 g
  • water 1 Tbsp
  • butter 10 g
Sugar coated nuts
  • Put the sugar and water in a frying pan and place over medium heat.
  • When it starts to boil, add the nuts and continue to stir with a spatula.
  • When the sugar on the edge of the pan becomes crystalline, turn off the heat and keep stirring (*2). It takes about 5 minutes.
  • Once the sugar has crystallized, stop stirring and allow to cool.
Caramelized nuts
  • Put the sugar and water in a frying pan and place over medium heat.
  • When it starts to boil, add the nuts and continue to stir with a spatula.
  • The sugar will crystallize in 5-10 minutes. After that, let it stand for a while and repeat the process of mixing.
  • The crystallized sugar will start to melt again. Mix the whole mixture thoroughly. Mix thoroughly so that the nuts do not burn.
  • When the mixture is sufficiently caramelized(*1), add the butter and coat everything with it.
  • Spread out on a cookie sheet and let cool. Break apart the stuck nuts with chopsticks or folks while they are still hot.
With this recipe, the edges of bumpy nuts such as walnuts and pecan nuts tend to retain crystals. If you heat them patiently, they will melt, but be careful not to overcook the nuts.
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