It’s hard to resist freshly made candied or spiced nuts, especially when they’re still just a tiny bit warm from the oven. It’s even more difficult when you have a good combination of sweet and savory spices on those nuts, as it gives them a rather addictive quality. Fortunately for some of my holiday guests, this is exactly the treatment I gave to these pecans. I tossed untoasted pecans with a combination of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and a bit of vanilla extract. Then, I added in a big pinch of cayenne pepper and a generous amount of salt before roasting the nuts in the oven until crispy and fragrant.
These nuts can be prepared in advance and, after they have been completely cooled, can be stored in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve them. They’re a great everyday snack and even better snack food for a party.
You can use different nuts for this recipe, or a combination of nuts, too. It’s easy to play around with this combination of spices for different flavors. For instance, you can increase the cinnamon and add ground chipotle chilies to the mixture for a smokier flavor, or you could add a splash of orage oil to add some citrus notes into the mix. The basic recipe is good, but that is exactly what it is supposed to be: basic enough to encourage you to turn a recipe like this into your own signature snack!
Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans
3 1/2 cups pecan halves, untoasted
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp gloves allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg white and vanilla extract until slightly foamy. Add in walnuts and stir with a spatula to coat.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, salt. Pour over the nuts and stir with a spatula until very evenly coated.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Slide parchment paper (with nuts still on it) off of the baking sheet and onto a wire rack (or the counter) to cool.
When nuts have cooled, break nut clusters up into a bowl to serve or store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups.