Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline

walnut praline 2 1024x668 Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline

Or as Mike called it, “The New Best Thing Ever”, “Heaven in a Bowl”, and “OMGooooooood!!”

I know, it doesn’t look like much. It wasn’t planned, and then when it turned out so well I had to grab a bunch out of Mike’s fist in order to document it. I’m not sure how to convey how much better this tastes than it looks. The spur-of-the-moment red tissue may have been a mistake. I’ll take more photos next time – and there will be a next time. We ate the entire batch tonight while decorating the tree.

I was just playing, distracted by thoughts of the sugary top of that Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch I told you about. I wanted to make it maple: ditch the ginger, swap the golden syrup for pure maple. Which made me want to add toasted walnuts. I put a slab of butter into a small pot to melt, intending to add another layer to an existing batch, just to try. I left the empty pot on the stove a few minutes too long as I went for the butter – distracted by something – and when I dropped it in the heat turned it golden instantly.

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Browned butter! Of course! what better way to improve on an already awesome butter-sugar-golden syrup combo? I swirled the pot until it melted and turned a nutty brown, then stirred in the icing sugar, maple syrup this time and a bit of vanilla and dropped it in globs over just toasted walnut halves. Not pretty, but not ugly either, and ridiculously delicious.

Chopped Walnuts 1024x670 Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline

It sounds insanely sweet, this butter-icing sugar stuff, like hard icing. But it’s not. A cup of powdered sugar is equivalent to half a cup of regular sugar – which isn’t to say this is low in sugar, just less sweet than it sounds. It balances the toasted walnuts perfectly. Make sure you have nice fresh walnuts, which is easy at this time of year with the turnover most stores see. They should be crunchy and nutty and slightly sweet – not at all bitter.

Walnut praline 1024x682 Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline

I’m not saying these are authentic pralines – in fact I’m sure they’re not – but I can’t think of what else to call them, other than sweet brown buttery, walnutty goodness.

Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline

1 1/2 cups California walnut halves or pieces
1/3 cup butter
1-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or Lyle’s or Roger’s Golden Syrup
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Toast the walnuts by spreading them on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toasting in a 350F oven for 6-7 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. If you have a toaster oven, that works too.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and after it melts, continue cooking it, swirling the pan often, until it foams and turns a nutty brown. Whisk in the syrup, icing sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 seconds.

Spread the toasted walnuts out on the lined baking sheet and pour the butter mixture overtop, trying to cover as much of the nuts as possible. Stir a bit on the sheet with a spoon so that it clumps up and coats (or at least touches) as many of the walnuts as possible. Let cool, then break into chunks. Try to share. Makes about 8 servings.

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December 04 2011 10:03 pm | snacks and sweet stuff

16 Responses to “Browned Butter Maple Walnut Praline”

  1. Kathleen on 05 Dec 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Imagine this as the topping to the shortbread?! Crunch up the walnuts into smaller pieces or use pecans even… Yum!

  2. Fareen on 05 Dec 2011 at 5:02 am #

    Those look so good! Can’t wait to try these.

  3. Danielle on 05 Dec 2011 at 7:32 am #

    I’m going to have to agree with your husband on this one! Definitely looks like heaven in a bowl (:

  4. bellini on 05 Dec 2011 at 7:59 am #

    No there’s a special treat Julie!!

  5. Diane on 05 Dec 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Okay, I made the Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch last night to rave reviews. Now I will have to make this! Since I live in the states, my sister brings me Roger’s Golden and I carefully protect it and hide it in the pantry. I grew up having Roger’s on fried bread dough (my polish-german grandma called them pluskies) Loving your experiments with butter and syrup. Thought about it watching Elf and thinking HE WOULD LOVE ROGER”S GOLDEN SYRUP. HAHA.

  6. Vivian on 05 Dec 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Wow! Just made a batch and it is so GOOOOODD!Just happened to have some left-over toasted walnuts from yesterday’s appetizer (walnuts, dates, balsamic and honey over melted Brie). This praline is great, and over ice cream or as Kathleen said, on shortbread, it would be a hit! Thanks, Julie.

  7. Sue. D on 05 Dec 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    i think awesome trumps authentic every damn time!

  8. lovetocook on 05 Dec 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    This should work on popcorn too for our nut-challenged friends??

  9. Jacquie M. on 05 Dec 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Approximately 14 minutes after discovering this bit o’ heaven on your blog I was pigging out on it in my own kitchen. Thanks Julie; you’re amazing. So is butter.

  10. Cassie on 05 Dec 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    oh my gosh! That looks fantastic! Wish I would have grabbed some walnuts at the store last night.

    I can’t eat butter (Well, I can eat a tiny tiny bit, but if these are as good as I think they are that would just be tortune to myself!) Will browned butter work the same if I used margarine or shortening?

  11. Shauna on 05 Dec 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I had to make this the instant I saw it, and I’m so glad I did! Yum! I squirrelled some away for myself before letting my husband know I’d made any at all ;-)

  12. Shauna on 05 Dec 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    Julie, was the texture slightly granular? If not, what do you think I did wrong? I did use icing sugar.. maybe over-cooked something? or undercooked?

  13. JulieVR on 06 Dec 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Shauna – mine was just ever so slightly granular, but in a fudgy way, not grainy or gritty.. not sure what would have caused that! I didn’t pay much attention to my cooking time – I think it would be better to underdo it than overdo it!

  14. Shauna on 06 Dec 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks! I’m thinking I overdid it a bit as I was waiting for the nuts to be a wee bit more toasted.

  15. miss v on 06 Dec 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    awww, come on… you’re about to derail my good intention diet!

  16. CathyH on 07 Dec 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    I made this lovely treat this afternoon. Please make someone hide it!

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