Making sugared nuts is like watching a magical transformation in front of your very eyes. To be honest it is pretty damn cool! These nuts are always super impressive and can be either a perfect sweet snack or a crunchy addition to any dessert.
The key to these delicious sugar crusted nuts is to bring the sugar syrup to a high enough concentration. A high concentration means a lot of sugar molecules are squeezed very close together.
In candy making, you can increase the concentration of sugar molecules by boiling the sugar syrup. The longer you boil, the more water evaporates and the higher the sugar concentration becomes. We cook the syrup to “Firmball” / “Hardball” stage 120/121ºC, which is approximately 92% sugar concentration.
To encourage the sugar crystal formation the temperature must be low enough so the molecules are moving slowly. Adding the nuts brings down the temperature of the syrup.
With very closely packed, slow-moving molecules, you can usually trigger the formation of sugar crystals by just stirring the mixture, causing the molecules to bang into each other. So once the nuts are added you need to start to stirring like your life depends on it, without stopping for the finest, crystalline sugary texture to your nuts.
Now this may sound a little complicated but if you follow my instructions and the video you’ll see that these sugared nuts are unbelievably easy to make at home.
— Al Brady