Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Candy: Walnut "knäck"

I've told you about Swedish "crack" before - it's called knäck, and that's because of the sound your teeth will make when breaking on this hard, sticky candy. No, maybe not. (But maybe - be careful when eating these!)

Almost every family in Sweden eats knäck during the holidays. It's wildly popular. And a bit fussy to make - you need to boil it until *just* the right temperature. Or you can just do like I do, and use the microwave. It's never failed me. The only problem is finding the right container for the job - I use a one litre (about 1 quart) Pyrex measuring jug, and that works perfectly. Sure, it sometimes spills a bit, but it's not hard to clean off with hot water.

You also need to work fast when filling your little paper cups. If you don't have paper cups, you can just pour the entire thing in a lined pan, and cut it into suitable pieces before it sets completely. But paper cups are traditional, and hopefully not completely impossible to find.

This year, I decided that in addition to the normal knäck, I'd also try a version using dark syrup instead of light, and walnuts instead of almonds. The results were fab - a grown-up version which is still sweet, but with more dimensions, and a great balance between the walnut and the sugar. Ni-i-ice.

Dark Walnut Knäck
makes about 40

100 ml dark syrup (a not too dark molasses, would surely work.)
100 ml sugar
100 ml cream (35-40% fat)
3-4 tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Mix syrup, sugar and cream in a suitable container, and cook in the microwave for seven minutes on full effect. Test to see if it's done by dropping a little bit into cold water - if you can form a fairly firm ball, you're done. Remove from microwave, quickly stir in the nuts, and quickly fill into tiny paper cups. Store in a cool place - I keep mine in the fridge.

Recipe in Swedish:
Mörk Valnötsknäck


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pan idea! Last year we attempted knäck here in california, but the paper cups we could find were inferior, the candies wouldn't come out of the cups! maybe another go this year...

Karin said...

I miss the "old" papercups when you had to suck the hole thing, then remove the paper and eat the knäck. They also came in different colors!

Anonymous said...


FYI - a liter is only slightly more than a quart (about 30 mL).

Anne said...

Bean - owww! Total mindslip - I knew that :) Thanks!!

Nicolette - ah, I see! Well, the pan idea should work, according to some friends :)

Karin - I remember those too :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea with the walnuts and the dark syrup. Myself I've only made ice chocolate with walnuts and raspberry truffles so far this december.

Anonymous said...

Anne, your recipes look delicious. I'll have to try some out! Cheers from Canada and Happy Holidays :)

Anonymous said...

I used my plastic jar one year and it melted into a really funny shape in the microwave. Never looked the same again. =)