Maple Walnut Candy (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


If you were a serious sweets person, you might think that the hardest part of having diabetes is passing on all the delectable sugary sweets the world has to offer. In my case, at least, you’d be wrong. I really was a serious sweets person, and I suppose in many ways I still am. But once I knew my health was at stake, it was remarkably easy to say no to sugar. I can pass by the candy aisle at the store without so much as a backward glance. I can stand in line at the checkout and barely notice the chocolate bars and candies put there deliberately to tempt me. They are simply no longer on my radar. If I am going to indulge in some high-carb foods, these are not the things that would lead me into temptation.

No, no, the hardest part for me is passing up things which are technically healthy and nutritious, but simply too high in carbs for me to eat. Sweet potato, for example. Or many of the tropical fruits, like pineapple, mango or banana. Cherries, oh, sweet, sweet cherries. Or that workhorse of fruits, the lowly apple…even that has too many carbs for me to indulge in a whole apple in one sitting. I may have always been a serious sweets person, but it’s passing up or cutting back on healthy foods that really burns me up.

Nevertheless, a girl does crave candy once in a while, and when that girl happens to be diabetic, she’d best be advised to keep walking right past the candy aisle and into her own kitchen. The Salted Peanut Caramel Clusters I made back in January have been on my mind lately, and I wanted to see what else I could do with them. The texture of the candy I can make with erythritol has always reminded me of maple candy…a little grainy and crumbly, compared to the perfect smoothness one can achieve with sugar. So I decided to play up that feature, and flavour it with maple extract and a touch of maple syrup for authenticity. Maple walnut ice cream is one of my all-time favourites, so I thought walnuts would be the perfect complement. I figured I would make it flat, like brittle or English toffee, so it could be broken up with the fingers and eaten in chunks.

The Results: I cannot, in good conscience, call this a brittle, because it just isn’t brittle enough. So I have simply titled it “Maple Walnut Candy”. I don’t know if this is because of the maple syrup in the mix, or that I didn’t cook the caramel quite enough, or if the humid weather has anything to do with it. Regardless, it still makes for an incredibly tasty treat with that distinct flavour and smell of maple. My whole house still smells of maple, although I made it yesterday afternoon! There are worse things in life, I think.

If you aren’t a walnut fan, you can easily sub in pecans or even almonds. But I think that the slight bitterness of the walnuts with the sweetness of the candy is perfect. This would be SO good broken up into little bits and sprinkled over low carb vanilla ice cream. Or better yet, swirled into homemade ice cream! Okay, I may have to come up with a recipe for ice cream made with this. But in the meantime, should you be craving some low carb candy, walk right past that candy aisle and into your own kitchen, because this is good stuff.

Maple Walnut Candy

3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp maple extract
1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper and set aside*.

Preheat oven to 350F and spread walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast walnuts, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine the erythritol and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until all of the erythritol has dissolved. Continue cooking until mixture becomes a dark amber colour, 6-10 minutes. Do not overcook.

Remove from heat, and add cream and maple extract. Mixture will bubble vigorously. Stir until smooth.

Return to heat and boil 1 minute more. Sprinkle xanthan gum lightly over mixture and whisk in quickly (xanthan gum is optional but helps to lessen the cooling mouth sensation of the erythritol). Stir in walnuts. Let mixture cool 3 minutes.

Pour mixture into prepared 8×8 pan and let cool to harden (you can hurry this process up by putting it in the fridge or freezer). Break up into chunks with fingers.

*For thicker candy, line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment instead.

Serves 12. Each serving has a total of 10.7g of carbs, but only 2.7g if you subtract erythritol.

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  1. Parsley Sage says

    Brittles are too brittle for me anyway :) My teeth are not a fan. Loving this candy, maple candy! Brilliant!

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    I'm glad you were able to make a candy for you get a craving! Brittle or not, these look great!

  3. MikeVFMK says

    Maple? Check. Walnut? Check. Candy? Hell yeah. Seriously, two ingredients I could never say no to. Which means this sweet snack is right up my alley!

  4. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says

    My dad will go crazy for this one. He's into this kind of crunchy sweet nuts candy. I sometimes send some from the US as it's not common snack in Japan. Your version is low carb – even better for him! Looks so delicious and the photos are so perfect to show how delicious these are!

  5. LaPhemmePhoodie says

    I have to admit I did not realize that as a diabetic you were restricted from so many fruits too. That's quite a challenge. This treat reminds me of my grandpop. He always loved this type of candy.

  6. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    This sounds so good! Maple is sooo good :). I think passing on healthy food would be the hardest part for me too! I never thought about the fact you also have to give up on a lot of fruit.

  7. Pretend Chef says

    I don't have a sweet tooth so passing up the candy aisle is no problem for me. However, I would not be able to pass up fruits and veggies. That must be so difficult. This candy does look delicious and I know everyone would like this. Yummy!

  8. Karen says

    I always forget that fruits and other "healthy" items can on the no-eat list for diabetes. It seems like they should be fine…they're good for you, after all! I'm with you though…I think I would miss the other things more than sweets. But this sure looks like a fantastic option for candy. Love the photo of it spilling out of the jar!

  9. Lilly says

    What a great candy recipe!

    I wouldn't know what life would look like not being able to eat whatever you want. Most people take it for granted. I guess you don't know what you're missing till you do. Seems like with this candy recipe you can satisfy some of your sweet tooth.

  10. Sandra says

    Looks fantastic Carolyn! Very creative, and I do love crunchy candy! It is perfect for snacks!
    By the way great photos,and I am giving you a buzz:))

  11. Adora's Box says

    Very irresistible. I don't care much for chocolates but brittles and caramels drive me nuts. Walnuts and maple just sound so tempting.

  12. Priscilla-ShesCookin says

    I love your honesty, Carolyn. If I had to watch my carbs the fruits that you listed would be the most difficult foods for me to decline. I do love nuts and the crunch they add to sweets, so this walnut, maple candy looks pretty darn good :)

  13. Erin says

    Looks wonderful! Good for you not being tempted by sweets! I wish I wasn't, but I do know that if my health really was the factor, I could make myself not eat them. I am just not motivated enough now!

  14. Maureen says

    This looks so good. So where does one by erythritol ?

    I can find sorbitol and xanthan gum in our health food store in bulk but not erythritol.

    I really want to try these.

  15. kitchenarian says

    This looks so good. Walnuts are not one of my favorite nuts, but I think they would be perfect with the maple. I like the fact that it is a soft candy.

  16. Janine says

    These things have been on my mind lately, nut brittle and sweets and you've made a recipe perfect for what I need now – low carb!

  17. Jana says

    My mouth is drooling. Walnuts and maple syrup, two of my favorite things together in one delectable candy. Wow!

  18. The Harried Cook says

    This sounds fabulous! How I wish I could find some maple extract here.. it sounds divine! Thanks for sharing :)

  19. briarrose says

    Looks like a praline in texture. These looks so inviting…especially with the maple flavoring…so yummy.

  20. jo says

    okay, now i'm wondering whether the softer candy could be modified to make a filling for low carb butter tarts! Another canadian fave!

  21. BakingWithoutaBox says

    Maybe it's my evil side but I'd miss the sweets more. As I gravitate immediately to your sweets recipes. Lol. Love that you miss the healthy stuff.
    Those candies are going in my recipe box. They sound melt-in-your-mouth good.

  22. Tiffany says

    This is like a praline, but not really. LOL… Maple walnut is my FAVORITE ice cream flavor! I would just adore this candy!

  23. Terra says

    You had me at maple! I love anything maple, and pecans:-) You know I love when you make gluten free treats too:-) This looks like a perfect little treat for me (you did notice I said FOR me) LOL!
    Hugs, Terra

  24. anna says

    so if i don’t use the erythritol it will be way less carbs right? but then will it not be as sweet of a treat?

    • Carolyn says

      I’m sorry, I am not sure I understand. This whole recipe is based on erythritol and it has no effective carbs. What would you replace it with?

      • Anna says

        I misunderstood. I thought it said if you subtract the erythritol the carb count would be less. Sorry. I have everything listed in the ingredients and am excited to try this today :) I love getting to eat a treat now and then! Thank you!

  25. Tara says

    Saw the recipe. Made the recipe. Only problem. How do I not eat it all in one go?! Very, very good & easy to make.

  26. charlotte says

    these look so good! i love maple anything! this would make it more like vanilla maple walnut brittle, but would it work if i used vanilla extract instead of maple?

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