I started my Saturday teaching spin and decided I wanted something luxurious for breakfast after class was over. I’ve been craving caramel apples covered in walnut pieces since fall started. I made the next best thing – Candied Vanilla Walnuts. Not just any candied walnuts – walnuts covered in vanilla coconut palm sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. HEAVEN! Omg I didn’t want to share 🙂 But I did because Dave is so sweet, and I needed a taste tester. He’s so lucky sometimes – I kid I kid!
Dave and I decided to take the day off on Friday and go up to the mountains in NC to hike a few trails and see the leaves changing. I probably haven’t mentioned this before on the blog but I’m a “Live by the seat of your pants” kind of girl. I rarely make plans before setting out on a trip like this. I think this stems from not wanting to be let down if we don’t get to do everything on “the list”. But since we were going up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and there isn’t always cell service I decided to put a few things on the list, but wasn’t set on any one thing except seeing the sunset.
We set out on our journey on Friday afternoon, a little bit later than expected but with plenty of time to hike. It’s normally a 2 to 2 1/2 hour trip from home to Asheville (which is where we normally get on the Blue Ridge Parkway). Little did we know we would get stuck in traffic in the mountains and it took us closer to 3 1/2 hours to get there. But I kept a positive attitude, as my goal for the day was that I wanted to see the sunset in the mountains., which we still had time for.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has these awesome lookout areas where you can pull off and park to take picture and bask in the glory of the mountains. I never get tired of seeing the fall colors in their glory and wanted to stop at every outlook. Not very productive when you want to hike! The parkway is great because you quickly build elevation on the road. When we first started out there were only a few trees changing (closer to Asheville) but as we went up toward Virginia, the colors became intense and it was such a beautiful ride.
We decided to stop at Mt. Pisgah and do a trail there. We decided to go explore the trail that did not lead to the top of Mt. Pisgah because it was really windy and the leaves had all changed at this elevation.
I’m so glad we choose the trail we did! We found this awesome tunnel of trees. This picture doesn’t do it justice! We walked aimlessly and ended up on the Laurel Mountain Trail. We decided to do the 1200 foot hike to the top of the summit in this trail and then turn around, as the sun was setting. Here is a map of the trail we ended up doing.
We ran the last a half mile at the end to get this view – but it was worth it.
Ok now for what you really came for, The Candied Vanilla Walnuts. These babies are GOOD! Like addicting good. You should probably make extra. Oh and don’t tell your kids they are healthy. 🙂
Candied Cinnamon Vanilla Walnuts
A quick highlight of coconut palm sugar – it is my new go to ingredient when stevia just doesn’t cut it in recipes. It’s low on the glycemic index so it won’t spike your insulin level. It’s also has magnesium and nitrogen (which helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure), zinc (for mental health), potassium (essential electrolyte that helps with muscular strength, cramps, and brain functions), calcium (for strong bones – don’t forget the vitamin D) and 16 essential amino acids! I highly recommend this ingredient – I found mine at the grocery store here in town, but you can also find it online pretty easily (affiliate link).
- ½ cup raw walnuts chopped
- 1½ tbs vanilla coconut sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbs water
- In a saucepan, add the walnuts, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon.
- Add water and cook 3-4 minutes until the water has a chance to evaporate slightly and a candy coating has formed on the walnuts.
Remember to please keep an eye on this and stir stir stir as you are making these candied vanilla walnuts. They require 100% of your attention and the candy coating gets HOT! So no taste testing without a minute or two to cool off! Trust me your tongue will thank me 🙂
Yum I had these walnut on a new apple pancake recipe (which I will share with you later this week) and later on a parfait. AMAZING! I made more to try with a granny smith apple later today and will let you know how that went!
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
What about you?
- Did you do anything exciting this weekend?
- Do you love candied apples or caramel apples better?
- Do you get most excited to see the sunrise or sunset?