I love making spiced, roasted nuts. They’re a great snack to have around for everyday munching and they’re always a hit when you put them out at parties. Generally speaking, spiced nuts aren’t too difficult to make and you have complete control over how salty, spicy or sweet your nuts turn out – control that you just don’t get with prepackaged nut mixes. These Sweet and Spicy Orange Glazed Pecans are just one of many snack options out there, but they are well worth making if you snack on nuts – sweet, salty or even plain – on a regular basis.
These glazed pecans couldn’t be any easier because they’re made with a “secret” ingredient: marmalade. For this recipe, marmalade is combined with several spices and tossed with untoasted nuts, then the nut mixture is roasted in the oven until the nuts are completely toasted. Marmalade has a wonderful orange flavor to it and it isn’t too sweet, so it is a good base for other ingredients and won’t overwhelm either the spices or the nuts. While everything is in the oven, the marmalade candies and creates a lovely spiced glaze on the nuts. When they’re finished, the pecans are perfectly toasted and the orange glaze is completely set, so the spiced nuts are ready to eat and won’t leave you with sticky fingers.
Orange and pecans are always a great flavor combination and this recipe is no exception. The nuts have a good orange flavor with just the right amount of sweetness and even a touch of bitterness from the marmalade that makes fresh and complex. I used cayenne, cumin and paprika, as well as salt, to spice these up and you will get a nice touch of heat as you eat these. I used Smuckers Three Fruit Marmalade, which is a favorite of mine because it has a very complex flavor and a little more sweetness than you find in some other marmalades. If you really want to highlight the orange even more, you can add a teaspoon or two of fresh orange zest to your marmalade mixture before adding it to the nuts. I like my nuts a little on the salty side, so I sprinkle them with a touch of additional salt when they come out of the oven and the glaze is not quite set, but you can skip that if you don’t want that extra salt.
Sweet and Spicy Orange-Glazed Pecans
1/3 cup marmalade
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground paprika
2 cups (8-oz) raw pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat the marmalade for 40-50 seconds, until it is bubbling. Add in salt, cayenne (add full amount for spicier pecans), cumin and paprika and stir to combine.
Place pecans in a large bowl and pour in marmalade mixture. Toss nuts to coat well.
Spread nuts in a single-layer on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until nuts are toasted and coating is tacky, not wet.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the parchment from the baking sheet and allow nuts to cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
Makes about 2 cups.