4 walnut recipes that will drive you crazy the good way

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My relationship with walnuts is a painful one. I love their earthy taste and the texture they add to so many desserts and dishes. Unfortunately, I had bad luck with the allergy lottery.

Just imagine: you are celebrating a bayram and your family or friends have worked tirelessly on their homemade baklava. You dive in to enjoy those crispy, flaky layers of goodness paired with the earthy tones of walnuts, only to be punished by losing your voice and making your throat itch, sometimes even your ears. As uncomfortable as the beginning of this text is, there are so many amazing ways to use this wonder nut in your kitchen.

Caramel sauce sprinkled under walnuts. (Shutterstock photo)

Let’s start with something simple:

candied walnuts

This recipe can be used with any other nut as well; Almonds are a particular favorite of mine. The advantage of the walnut, however, is that it has so many ridges and corners that the sugary coat can stick. While these are great to simply eat as such, you can shred them a little smaller (or leave them whole) and add them to salads, cakes, muffins, hummus, and so many other dishes that I can’t even list them all here . The crispness and sweetness they add will make a great addition either way.

ingredients

  • 100 grams of walnuts
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Caramelized candied walnuts in a bowl.  (Shutterstock photo)

Caramelized candied walnuts in a bowl. (Shutterstock photo)

instructions

If your walnuts are whole, you should at least cut them in half. As much as we like to have a few ribs, a whole nut is a bit too much. Of course, smaller pieces also work. Put all ingredients in a Teflon pan and heat slowly with a silicone spatula, stirring constantly. The caramel does not stick to the silicone and stirring is important so that nothing burns. When everything is melted and the nuts are sufficiently coated, pour them onto a piece of baking paper and separate them immediately. You don’t want to end up with a sugary chunk of walnut, so it’s important to be quick. The sugar cools down pretty quickly, so you can get started on these crunchy snacks within five minutes.

Traditional Turkish walnut sucuk.  (Shutterstock photo)

Traditional Turkish walnut sucuk. (Shutterstock photo)

A Turkish classic: walnut sucuk

Sukuk? Isn’t that a spicy sausage? You may be wondering, but this delicacy is a lovely way to preserve nuts in Turkey. Walnuts are especially popular here because they are easy to stack, especially when compared to other nuts like hazelnuts. This is usually sold in stores, but of course you can do it at home if you are patient enough! The amount of walnuts given here really depends on how much you actually want to make. But if that feels like a lot, always use half or even a quarter of the amount of the remaining ingredients.

Traditional Turkish walnut sucuk.  (Shutterstock photo)

Traditional Turkish walnut sucuk. (Shutterstock photo)

ingredients

  • At least 500 grams of walnuts
  • 5 tablespoons of flour
  • 5 tablespoons of starch
  • 100 grams of sugar
  • 600 milliliters of water
  • 600 milliliters of grape molasses
  • Sharp needle
  • String
  • Clothes hangers or the like

instructions

Thread the walnuts on the thread with the help of the needle. Tie a knot at one end if necessary. Put all ingredients except molasses and walnuts in a sufficiently large saucepan and stir until smooth. Add the molasses and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and dip the walnuts in the mixture. Drain the excess and hang the string on a hanger, dowel, or other place where it can rest for two days. If you don’t like the thin layer of this mixture, you can dip it again in the molasses mixture.

Pureed mushrooms and walnuts.  (Shutterstock photo)

Pureed mushrooms and walnuts. (Shutterstock photo)

Vegans and vegetarians are happy: walnut meat

A delicious option for vegetarians and vegans! I stumbled upon walnut meat recently and I love the idea. It really looks like ground beef at first glance, and considering that the earthy combination of mushrooms and walnuts goes so well with many dishes, I can see they go well here too!

ingredients

100 grams of walnuts

100 grams of mushrooms

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

Spices to taste

instructions

Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree until there are a few pieces left. So less is definitely more here! Depending on where you plan to use this, you’ll want to combine your spices. Salt and pepper are classics and go well with almost anything. If you want to add this to your taco or something similar, you’ll definitely want to add some garlic powder (or fresh garlic but toast it in a pan to get the right flavor) and a bit of cumin. Cumin generally adds that spiciness to meat dishes, so it definitely can’t hurt to add it here.

One suggestion I want to make here is to julienne a few onions and fry them in a pan until tender with a little oil. Add the “walnut meat” and cook it warm, then combine with a few eggs and a dash of milk for a very nutritious breakfast.

Just one of many possibilities!

Turkish halva with walnuts.  (Shutterstock photo)

Turkish halva with walnuts. (Shutterstock photo)

Sommerhalva with walnuts

I know we’re already in fall, but this halva with walnuts is so iconic that I couldn’t just miss it here. The combination of cocoa and the crunch of the nut harmonizes surprisingly well.

ingredients

200 milliliters of tahini

200 grams of sugar

1 tablespoon of cocoa

50 milliliters of water

Handful of lightly shredded walnuts (or more if you want)

instructions

Mix the tahini, cocoa and walnuts in a bowl and set aside. Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Once it’s clear, carefully pour it into the tahini mixture and stir well. It’s getting thicker so don’t be alarmed. Pour this mixture into a shallow container lined with baking paper and let it cool to room temperature first and then let it harden in the refrigerator for a few hours. Cut out pieces and enjoy!


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