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Chinese Date Walnut Candy (南棗核桃糕)

This Chinese red date walnut candy is soft, chewy, and nutty! The light sweetness and toasted walnuts work together well to satisfy any sweets cravings.

Chinese red date walnut candy, jujube walnut candy

Chinese date walnut candy/jujube walnut candy (南棗核桃糕) is a common Chinese/Taiwanese treat. The light sweetness and nuttiness pair together for a wonderful bite-sized snack. The texture is soft and chewy due to the blended jujubes yet crunchy from the toasted walnuts. 

Red date walnut candy is popular since it is not only delicious but quite healthy as well. The sweetness only comes from jujubes and maltose. Walnuts provide some good nutrients as well!  

Ingredient Notes

  1. Jujubes: The main ingredient is dried red dates (aka jujubes). They are mildly sweet with a slight caramel undertone. You should be able to find it in most Asian groceries. 
  2. Walnuts: When toasted, the walnuts add a nice, savory/nutty flavor to the candy. Instead of a date and walnut candy, you can also experiment with adding other nuts/seeds such as pecans and sesame seeds.
  3. Maltose: It is a very thick sweetener that is way less sweet than regular granulated sugar. Its viscous texture helps to bind the jujube walnut candy together and make it firmer. Like jujubes, it should be found in Asian groceries. 
  4. Tapioca starch slurry: Similar to the maltose, it helps the candy mixture to thicken. 

Recipe Notes

  1. Measuring maltose: Maltose is very hard and viscous at room temperature, making it difficult to measure. If you heat up the maltose slightly (e.g. in the microwave), it will melt and be easier to weigh. For cup measurements, 120 grams is probably around a 1/3 cup. 
  2. Toasting walnuts: Since the candy has minimal ingredients, toasting the walnuts adds a lot of flavor. Try to bake/cook the walnuts long enough so they are very browned but not burnt. 
  3. Blending the dates: Add as little water as possible to minimize the time needed to cook the dates down into a thick paste. 
  4. Cook time: The amount of time it takes to cook down the mixture can vary quite a bit based on how much water you used to blend the dates, the heat of your stove, and the size of your pan. 
Chinese red date walnut candy, jujube walnut candy square
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5 from 1 vote

Chinese Date Walnut Candy (南棗核桃糕)

This Chinese date walnut candy is soft, chewy, and nutty! The light sweetness and toasted walnuts work together well to satisfy any sweets cravings
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chinese date walnut candy, date and walnut candy, jujube walnut candy, red date walnut candy
Servings: 27 pieces
Calories: 70kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g red dates (jujubes) with seeds 180 w/o seeds
  • 240 g water, plus more as needed (1 cup + extra as needed)
  • 120 g maltose **Note 1
  • 25 g vegetable oil 2 tbsp
  • 30 g tapioca starch or potato starch 1/4 cup
  • 60 g water 1/4 cup (for slurry)
  • 150 g walnuts 1.25 cups

Instructions

  • Bake the walnuts in the oven (350°F/180°C) or cook over the stovetop until golden brown and toasty, about 7-10 minutes. Set aside. *Note 2
  • Prepare the jujubes by cutting around the pit with a knife or scissors. Remove the pits.
  • In a blender or food processor, blend the jujubes with 240 grams of water until it is a smooth, thick paste. Add more water as needed to reach that consistency. *Note 3
  • Pour the blended red dates into a large non-stick pan. Stir in maltose and oil.
  • Turn on the heat to medium-low/medium and cook until the mixture thickens, about 25 minutes. The stove should be hot enough that the mixture bubbles once or twice when not stirred. Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula periodically to prevent the bottom from burning/sticking.
  • Mix tapioca starch with water in a small bowl until no lumps of starch remain.
  • Pour the tapioca starch slurry into the mixture and immediately stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring periodically, until the mixture thickens into a dough-like consistency and no longer sticks to your pan/spatula. This can take up to another 20 minutes. ** Note 4
  • Fold the toasted walnuts into the jujube mixture.
  • Transfer the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Fold the edges of the paper/mat over the candy to form it into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to flatten the candy to about a 1/2-inch (~1.25 cm) thick.
  • Once the candy has cooled to room temperature, place it into the refrigerator to harden, roughly 2 hours.
  • Remove the paper/mat and cut the candy with an oiled knife into 1/2 x 2-inch (1.25 x 5 cm) pieces or your desired shape.
  • Optional but recommended: Use parchment paper/wax paper/edible glutinous rice paper wrappers to wrap the candies to prevent them from sticking to each other in storage. Store in the refrigerator to prevent the candy from softening too much.

Notes

  1. Measuring maltose: Maltose is very hard and viscous at room temperature, making it difficult to measure. If you heat up the maltose slightly (e.g. in the microwave), it will melt and be easier to weigh. For cup measurements, 120 grams is probably around a 1/3 cup.
  2. Toasting walnuts: Since the candy has minimal ingredients, toasting the walnuts adds a lot of flavor. Try to bake/cook the walnuts long enough so they are very browned but not burnt.
  3. Blending the dates: Add as little water as possible to minimize the time needed to cook the dates down into a thick paste.
  4. Cook time: The amount of time it takes to cook down the mixture can vary quite a bit based on how much water you used to blend the dates, the heat of your stove, and the size of your pan.

How to Make Jujube Walnut Candy

Bake the walnuts in the oven (350°F/180°C) or cook over the stovetop until golden brown and toasty, about 7-10 minutes. Set aside. 

Prepare the jujubes by cutting around the pit with a knife or scissors. Remove the pits.

Pitted Jujubes, red dates

In a blender or food processor, blend the jujubes with 240 grams of water until it is a smooth, thick paste. Add more water as needed to reach that consistency. 

Jujubes and Water Blended

Pour the blended red dates into a large non-stick pan. Stir in maltose and oil. 

Ingredients added to nonstick pan

Turn on the heat to medium-low/medium and cook until the mixture thickens, about 25 minutes. The stove should be hot enough that the mixture bubbles once or twice when not stirred. Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula periodically to prevent the bottom from burning/sticking.

Jujube mixture in pan - thickened part 2

Mix tapioca starch with water in a small bowl until no lumps of starch remain. 

Pour the tapioca starch slurry into the mixture and immediately stir to combine. Continue cooking, stirring periodically, until the mixture thickens into a dough-like consistency and no longer sticks to your pan/spatula. This can take up to another 20 minutes. 

Jujube mixture in pan - doughlike part 3

Fold the toasted walnuts into the jujube mixture. 

Jujube mixture in pan - walnuts added part 4

Transfer the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat. Fold the edges of the paper/mat over the candy to form it into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to flatten the candy to about a 1/2-inch (~1.25 cm) thick.

Chinese red date walnut candy wrapped

Once the candy has cooled to room temperature, place it into the refrigerator to harden, roughly 2 hours.

Remove the paper/mat and cut the candy with an oiled knife into 1/2 x 2-inch (1.25 x 5 cm) pieces or your desired shape. 

Chinese red date walnut candy cut into pieces

(Optional but recommended): Use parchment paper/wax paper/edible glutinous rice paper wrappers to wrap the candies to prevent them from sticking to each other. Store in the refrigerator to prevent the candy from softening too much.

Chinese red date walnut candy, jujube walnut candy diagonal

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