Candied Nuts

Chef Drew Swanson from Wolfgang Puck Catering shares a holiday favorite. He makes candied nuts and then adds them onto a grain and squash side dish.


Recipe: Yield: 2 pounds

Vegetable or Corn Oil 3 Quarts or 32 fl. Oz.
Nuts of Choice 2 Pounds
Powdered Sugar 3 Cups
Sea Salt  2 Tablespoons


1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil.  Add nuts and boil for 2 minutes.  Drain.

2. Toss blanched nuts with powdered sugar until completely covered.  Spread evenly on sheet tray.  Leave nuts to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. While nuts are resting. In a 6 qts. sauce pot, bring 3 quarts of oil to 375 degrees and hold temperature.

4. Working in small batches, fry nuts until golden brown, 75-120 seconds.  Remove from oil.  Layout nuts in a single layer onto parchment paper and season with sea salt.

5. Once a minute for 5 minutes stir nuts with wooden spoon until completely cool keeping nuts from clumping together.


Yield: 8 servings

Olive Oil 1/4 Cups +4 Tbsp
Fennel bulb, finely chopped 1 ea.
Yellow Onion, finely chopped 1 ea.
Garlic Clove, minced 5 pcs.
Chicken Stock 8 Cups
Farro 2 Cups
Red Quinoa 2 cups
Butternut Squash, peeled, Cut 1" pcs     1 pound
Sherry Vinegar 1/4 Cup
Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, cut 1" pcs 2 ea.
Dried Cherries, soaked in warm water for 10 min. 1 Cup
Candied Pecans, see recipe 1.5 Cups
Flat Leaf Parsley, picked and chopped 1/2 Cup
Wild Arugula 4 oz or 6 cups
Pecorino Cheese, shaved 2 oz.


1. Heat ¼ C olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add fennel, onion, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt.
Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the stock, farro, red quinoa and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender and the stock is absorbed, 25-30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat our oven to 400*.  In a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle with half of the sherry vinegar and roast on a sheet pan until tender, 15-20 minutes.  Repeat the same process with the apples.  Except only roast the apples for 8-10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Reserve.

3. In a large bowl, toss the grain mixture with the arugula, dried cherries, pecans, parsley, and roasted squash and apples. Season with kosher salt, pepper, and a dash of olive oil.  Transfer to a platter or bowl and garnish with the shaved pecorino.

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