Arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Combine sugar and the next 4 ingredients (sugar through red pepper) in a small saucepan. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 238° (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in walnuts. Pour walnut mixture onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cool completely; break into small pieces.
Note: Store remaining walnuts in an airtight container.
I've been giving these nuts as Christmas gifts for several years, always recieving enthusiastic thanks. I have, however, made some significant changes to the recipe for exactly the reasons described by the first reviewer. First of all, I increased the quantity of nuts to 3 cups. Then I added a second baking step after the walnut mixture is spread on the baking sheet (lined with parchment paper in place of cooking spray.) I return the baking sheet to a 250 degree oven for about 45 minutes until the walnuts are dry and crunchy. Try it; you'll like it!
Interesting but not what I expected for nuts you would add to a salad. This turned out more like walnut brittle. In my opinion there is way too much sugar syrup for the amount of nuts. Could have used twice as many nuts and they would have been coated enough for my taste. Increased the cayenne pepper to 1/2 tsp. and probably could have increased it even more. Still, it was easy and I can fiddle with it to get it to my taste. In the meantime hubby is enjoying his candied nuts.
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