How to Make a Walnut Whirl

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Learn how to make a walnut whirl, the beloved vintage British sweet.

If you’ve ever traveled to the U.K., then you may have come across a British candy called Walnut Whip on your travels. While it’s possible to have these tasty chocolates shipped to the States, their price is often marked up and shipping can be unreliable (a melted and smooshed Walnut Whip is something no human should have to experience). Luckily, it’s possible to make a pretty fantastic walnut whirl at home!

What Is a Walnut Whip?

Originally invented in 1910 by the confectionery company Duncan’s of Edinburgh, a Walnut Whip is a conical, hollow chocolate that is filled with fondant creme and topped with a single walnut half.

Today, the sweet is made by Nestlé Rowntree’s, who claims a Walnut Whip is eaten every 2 seconds in the United Kingdom. In 2017, Nestlé made the controversial decision to remove the walnut from the top of the candy to coincide with the rollout of new “Whip” flavors: coffee, vanilla and mint.

It seems public outcry, however, made an impact because as of 2020, the sweet is now available in a variety of flavors both with and without walnuts.

Walnut Whips vs. Walnut Whirls

Walnut Whirls walnut whips on a plate with one sliced in half to show fillingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Don’t be confused! The only difference between Walnut Whips and walnut whirls is the name. The reason Walnut Whips are referred to as walnut whirls, on occasion, is that both the name and even the iconic, molded shape are owned trademarks of Nestlé Rowntree’s. So other manufacturers who want to sell similar confections must do so using a different name and altered shape to avoid legal challenges.

How to Make Homemade Walnut Whirls

Ingredients

ingredients for walnut whirlsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate
  • 8 walnut halves

Editor’s tip: You can make superfine sugar by blitzing granulated sugar in a food processor. Learn more about types of sugar to see why confectioners use superfine sugar for making candy.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Silicone Candy Molds: While the original Whips were “whirled” by hand, using domed or conical chocolate molds will ensure your whirls are all identical in appearance.
  • Piping Bags & Tips: Use a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip to dispense the perfect amount of filling into each of the molds.
  • Candy Thermometer: Making marshmallow requires a candy thermometer to heat the sugar syrup to the precise temperature before adding to the egg whites. It will also help you temper the chocolate beautifully, too.

Directions

Step 1: Make the marshmallow filling

Walnut Whirls whip egg white so stiff peaks for walnut whipsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

For the filling, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk for 6-8 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.

Walnut Whirls boil sugar and corn syrup to add to egg whites for walnut whipsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 240°F.

Walnut Whirls add hot syrup slowly to whipped egg whitesLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Promptly remove the syrup from the heat and begin to slowly pour the hot syrup in a steady stream into the egg whites, while your mixer whisks on a low speed. Once the hot syrup is incorporated, increase the speed of your mixer to medium-high and whisk for 4-6 minutes until a thick, glossy meringue forms.

Walnut Whirls beat egg white and syrup mixture until glossy and stiff peaks formLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the meringue thickens, bloom 1 teaspoon of gelatin in 2 tablespoons of cold water for 5 minutes. Mix the gelatin powder until smooth and then whisk into the thickened meringue. Finally, whisk in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Step 2: Chill the filling

Transfer the filling into a piping bag fitted with a large, round nozzle. Seal the end of the piping bag and let the filling chill for at least 15 minutes. If this is your first time using a piping bag, skim this guide on how to use a piping bag like a pro.

Step 3: Temper the chocolate

Walnut Whirls melt chocolate using a double boilerLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

While the filling chills, melt and temper the chocolate. Using a double boiler (or a bowl sitting over a pan of water), melt 9 ounces of the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water until it reaches 115°. Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted.

Walnut Whirls tempering the chocolate for walnuts whipsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Step 4: Prepare the molds

Walnut Whirls paint the mold with chocolate in several layers to form the outer shell for walnut whipsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Start by pouring a few teaspoons of chocolate into the molds. Use a pastry brush to paint the chocolate up the sides of the molds. Chill the chocolate for 3-5 minutes, then add another layer of painted chocolate to the bottom and sides of the molds. Chill, then repeat until you’ve done 3-5 layers total. You want to build up a nice wall of chocolate that won’t crack when it comes time to remove the walnut whirls from the mold.

Editor’s tip: If the chocolate cools while you work, retemper by placing it back over the warm water. Keep the chocolate around 90° while you work to ensure a smooth, glossy finish once it sets.

Step 5: Fill and chill

Walnut Whirls pipe in the marshmallow filling for walnut whipsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Next, pipe the chilled marshmallow filling into each mold until almost full. Cover the filling with the additional melted, tempered chocolate (reserve a few tablespoons for the final step) then place the walnut whirls into the fridge to set completely; at least 1 hour.

Walnut Whirls top off each mold with chocolateLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Editor’s tip: Originally, Walnut Whips contained a single walnut half inside as well. Prior to topping the filling with chocolate, you may press an additional walnut half into the filling, if desired, for a hidden walnut surprise.

Step 6: Finish

Walnut Whirls Once chocolate are fully set remove from mold and top with a walnutLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Gently remove each whirl from the mold and place onto a serving tray. Adhere a walnut half to the top of each by using a few drops of the remaining melted, tempered chocolate as glue. Let the chocolate “glue” set and then enjoy.

Walnut Whirls overhead shot of finished walnut whirlsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

How to Store Walnut Whirls

Store the finished walnut whirls in an airtight container at room temperature. You may also store in the refrigerator if your kitchen is on the warm side.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.