Maple-Covered Walnuts

Local walnuts are ready at Cleveland Rapids Orchards. The Lehne's have a great crop and they've kept the price the same as last year.

Walnuts and blueberries are two of my favorite local foods and I generally toss a handful of each into my morning bowl of oatmeal or cold cereal. For a great recipe that uses both of these superfoods, check out my Blueberry-Walnut Zucchini Bread.

The following recipe is quick and easy and great for holiday gift-giving.

Maple-covered Walnuts

1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups walnut halves

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. In a heavy skillet (I use cast iron), combine the maple syrup, cinnamon, butter and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is dark and thick and the consistency of raw egg whites, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the walnuts and toss until well-coated with the glaze. Spread out on the waxed paper to cool.

Note: If you did not cook the glaze long enough and the nuts are still sticky even after they have cooled completely (give them at least an hour or so, depending on the weather and humidity in your kitchen), just put them in a low oven for a bit to help them dry out.

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