This sweet, sticky, chewy walnut syrup is easy to make and a perfect topping for ice cream, cake, brownies, pancakes and even oatmeal!
This Walnut Syrup will be my third and final ice cream topping post for the summer. That kind of sounds like the summer is over and done, but I’m a “never say die” person when it comes to the end of this season.
It’s still August, and as far as I’m concerned, we could all use a little of this summer state of mind all year round.
I know some schools have already started and others are heading back momentarily. I was shocked to see that on August 1st, Target was already pretty well wiped out of school supplies!
What? I mean, seriously, I need to have a conversation with those school supply buyers ;) It’s like being out of stock for Christmas on December 1st.
Not that I need to worry about school supplies this year, thankfully.
After buying everything on those darn school supply lists for so many years and then not needing all of it…I pretty much just have my kids “shop” from a drawer that looks like we’ve prepared for a school supply apocalypse :)
Enough about summer’s end and school supplies. We’re talking about Walnut Syrup today!
What is Walnut Syrup?
Well, it’s pretty much just that, nuts in syrup. Some people call it, “Wet walnuts.” I don’t find that name super appealing, nor does it accurately describe what’s going on with this recipe.
I think I’ve kind of skipped over this whole idea most of my life because why would I want to put “wet” walnuts on my sundae? I was all too happy to put “dry” roasted peanuts on instead :)
I’m not actually sure what prompted me to go down the route of making a nut syrup. I think once I got past the whole “wet” idea and realized we’re talking syrup here… I suppose I was intrigued by the whole idea and wanted to try it out for myself.
I mean, we like syrup in general. Of course, we like maple syrup. You KNOW we love 10 Minute Buttermilk Caramel Syrup and Apple Cider Caramel Sauce and of course, Chewy Hot Fudge (which is more fudge than syrup, but why split hairs on that?)
And, we like nuts. I, in particular, am one of those people who love nuts in pretty much everything. I generally think chocolate is better with nuts. Caramel is better with nuts. Oatmeal is better with nuts. So…perhaps syrup might also be better with nuts?
What kind of nuts can you use to make nut syrup?
This recipe uses walnuts, but you can pretty much use your favorite nut. I personally think it’s best with walnuts or pecans. Although almonds and hazelnuts sound really good as well. You could even make a mixed nut syrup. That could be fun…
To get the best flavor from the nuts, they should be toasted. There’s nothing better than the aroma of freshly roasted nuts. And, there’s nothing worse than the smell of nuts that are burning.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned nuts while trying to toast them. The first thing about toasting nuts is that you cannot leave them. You must keep both eyes on them because they will go from nothing to burned in a heartbeat.
How to Toast Nuts
- In the oven
- You can toast them in a 350 degree oven in a single layer on a baking sheet. Depending upon the nut, it should take 5-10 minutes to toast. Stir the nuts or shake the pan about half way through cooking. Again, stay close and pay attention to the smell. As soon as you smell that nutty aroma, you’re done.
- In a frying pan
- You can place them in a dry frying pan, stirring constantly until you start to smell the nutty aroma. Remove them from the pan as soon as they’re done. This method doesn’t roast the nuts as evenly as the oven, but it is faster.
- In a toaster oven
- If you have a toaster oven, then you’re in luck! This is my FAVORITE fail proof way to toast nuts without burning them. I line a small baking sheet with foil, then spread the nuts evenly in one layer.
- Set the toaster to the lowest level timer; for me that is level 1. Push the start button.
- I don’t really worry about that first toasting. The time is short enough that I know the nuts won’t burn.
- After one toasting, I toast again at the lowest level and repeat until the nuts are fragrant.
- I remove them from the oven. Then, I lift the nuts (still on the foil) from the tray to cool on a rack.
Why is the toaster oven a great way to toast nuts?
- Well, those short bursts of toasting keep me on my toes and don’t let me forget that I’m supposed to be watching them.
- My toaster oven beeps at the end of the toasting cycle which is an audible reminder.
- Also, the oven turns off every time the toast cycle is done. I never burn nuts anymore with this method.
I also use this method to toast coconut. You can see that in my Toasted Coconut Pecan Steel Cut Oats and in my Pineapple Coconut Tres Leches Cake. That’s right. Once I figured out how to toast nuts and coconut without burning them, I never went back.
Now, if you don’t have a toaster oven, the best advice I can give you is to simply NOT leave the nuts for a minute. Don’t do it. Don’t take a call, don’t start texting, don’t browse social media. Just stand there, next to the oven or stove and watch the darn nuts until they smell nutty and amazing.
They say a watched pot never boils. Well, an ignored nut in an oven or on a stove top burns. It’s as simple as that. Eyes wide open, my friends.
What kind of syrup should you use to make Walnut Syrup?
I use three kinds of syrup:
- Maple syrup
- Maple syrup adds great flavor, but I didn’t want the syrup to be too strongly maple flavored.
- I use a high quality, REAL maple syrup. Let’s keep with real syrup here, no “pancake syrup” that’s simply maple flavored. Read the ingredient label if you’re unsure.
- Simple syrup
- I balanced the maple syrup with some simple syrup, which is equal parts water and sugar.
- Light corn syrup
- I’m using this to insure we don’t have issues with crystallization.
- The corn syrup you find in the grocery store is not high fructose corn syrup. You can read more about that here.
- If you’d like to go organic with your corn syrup, this is a good choice.
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Adding flavors to the Walnut Syrup
- I added pumpkin pie spice. I only added a bit to kind of sit in the back of the flavor profile. You could add cinnamon, apple pie spice or any favorite spice. You can also add more spice than I did if you want a more pronounced spice flavor. Add a pinch of cayenne if you like a little heat.
- I also added some vanilla bean paste. I do this after I remove the syrup from the heat. You can add other extracts or even stir in a bit of zest from an orange.
How to Make Walnut Syrup in Three Easy Steps
- Combine syrups, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add toasted walnuts and boil for 2 additional minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in spice, vanilla and a pinch of salt.
That’s it. That four minutes of boiling will give your syrup a sticky consistency that will be very liquid when hot and very thick when cold.
When it hits ice cream, it will thicken up and have a lovely chewy, but not stick to your teeth, texture. It is YUMMY!
I could taste the maple but it didn’t taste like just maple syrup with nuts in it. It was mild. And the hint of spice was just perfect!
Yeah. I didn’t know what I was missing. Nor did anyone else in my house. No one was particularly excited about this syrup until they tasted it. And then, we were rationing portions because I had made such a small batch!
We topped our ice cream with it and we topped some delicious new pancakes with it. In any case, it was gone quicker than you could say, “Wet walnuts.” Lol!
That pancake post is coming up in the next few weeks and let me tell you…this syrup took those pancakes over the top! Soooo good! Just wait ’til you see!
Until then, let’s break out some ice cream, throw on some flip flops and enjoy every last bit of summer :)
It’s okay…we’re going to love Fall too! You know how the song goes…”Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…”
Monday 18th of July 2022
Can you can these and make them shelf stable?
Monday 18th of July 2022
Hi Lisa, I don't have any experience with canning so I'm not able to advise you on this. I've seen recipes for canning walnut syrup, so I think it's possible. I just don't know if any adjustments need to made to the recipe or process to ensure both a successful and a food safe end result.