How to Make Wet Walnuts: Easy (Dairy-Free) Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping for Yogurt, Oatmeal, Baked Apples and More by Cleo Coyle

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Here is wonderfully easy way to make an amazing caramel-like syrup without the usual butter, cream, or refined white sugar that goes into traditional caramel.

This old fashioned Wet Walnuts topping uses pure, natural maple syrup. During the cooking process, the syrup transforms into an amazing topping for yogurt, ice cream, baked apples, oatmeal, cobblers, fruit pies, and more. Click here to instantly download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share with joy! 

~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle, who is nuts
about nuts, is author of

The Coffeehouse Mysteries 
* A Note from Cleo 

This recipe is a beautiful marriage between walnuts and  maple syrup. I keep my Wet Walnuts in small jars (toasted and untoasted), where I can quickly dip in a spoon and drizzle with joy. 

Use the freshest walnuts you can find and you'll be happy with the result. I buy whole nuts, freshly shelled, from a local green grocer, and chop them myself. Sometimes I toast the nuts, sometimes not--so make that decision based on your own taste. 

Cleo's Wet Walnuts 

(Dairy Free) Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping
for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal,
Baked Apples and More...


To download this recipe in a
PDF document that you can
print, save, or share,
click here.
Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Wet Walnuts (Dairy-Free)

Makes about 1-1/2 cups 


1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (*see my note below on toasting) 

1 tablespoon cornstarch 

1 tablespoon hot tap water 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt) 

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup (**see my tips below on choosing)    

1 teaspoon vanilla (***or see my other flavor options) 


Step 1 - Prep Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, hot tap water, and salt. Use a fork or small whisk and work the mixture until you see no lumps. Set aside. If you’d like to use toasted nuts in this recipe, then prepare the nuts now. (My directions on toasting nuts are at the end of this recipe).  

Step 2 - Cook the sauce: During this step, the syrup will bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a large, heavy saucepan that allows enough room for the bubbling (see my photo below). Pour the syrup into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the syrup bubbles up, turn the heat down, and simmer for one full minute while stirring continually. After a minute, stir in the cornstarch mixture that you prepared in the first step. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil and stir for a full minute. Turn off the heat and take the pan off the hot burner.

Step 3 - Remove from heat and finish: For best results, make sure the sauce is well off the boil before you stir in the vanilla or rum or liqueurs. (You don’t want to boil off the flavoring.) Finally, stir in the chopped nuts. The syrup will thicken as it cools but should remain pourable right from the refrigerator. If chilled sauce becomes hard, simply re-heat in a pan or microwave and stir in a few teaspoons of water before returning to the storage container and the fridge. Drizzle over ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pound cake, puddings, pancakes, waffles, even fruit pies (especially apple pie). The sauce can be stored in an air tight container or glass jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


*TOASTING NUTS: Spread the chopped walnuts on a single layer of a baking sheet and heat for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F. Stir once about halfway through to prevent burning. Proceed with the recipe as written. 

*PURE MAPLE SYRUP has one ingredient on the bottle: "maple syrup." Do not use "pancake syrup" or "maple-flavored table syrup" for this recipe. Those products are artificial imitations of real maple syrup, which is made by boiling down maple tree sap. Look for Grade A, Medium or Dark Amber. To learn more about maple grades, read my recent blog post on this subject by clicking here

***FLAVOR OPTIONS: You can replace the vanilla with other options, including 1 tablespoon of dark rum; or 1 tablespoon of the following: Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur); Amaretto; or (if you can find it) Nocino (green 
 walnut liqueur).  

P&P Elixer

Behold a quick and healthful breakfast,
which makes good use of this Wet Walnuts recipe....

This combo of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sliced banana, walnuts, and maple syrup is not only delicious, it's nutritious and recommended as a "probiotic-prebiotic" elixir. 

So what is a
P&P elixir?

If you've seen a yogurt commercial, than you likely know that "probiotics" are the "healthy bacteria" that live in your gut. They're also found in fermented foods like good quality yogurts with live and active cultures. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates, and they can be found in bananas, oatmeal, maple syrup, red wine, honey, legumes, and high-fiber foods. 

When these two "P" foods (pro- and prebiotics) are paired in a single meal, they contribute to healthy digestion and immune function. They also have a "synergistic relationship, because prebiotics feed the probiotics," as registered dietitian put it for the Mayo Clinic website. Or you can read more here.

F o o d i e
P h o t o s


Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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