This is my family’s favorite holiday treat. I also bake enough to treat the neighbors. It helps the neighborhood peace and goodwill, plus makes up for those tools you never returned, and your dog pooping on their lawns. They will begin saying nice things to you – like “I like your nuts.”
I’m not sure where I found this but it might have been an old LA Times Sunday Magazine edition about 10 years ago.
If recipes were more aptly named based on ingredient portions, this one should be renamed Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Sugar & Spice Pecans.
Yields about 5 cups.
2 cups water
4 cups sugar, plus ¼ cup extra (Yes, I know, this is over a quart of sugar)
4 cups pecan halves*
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg (spice rack stuff works fine)
½ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Pour water and 4 cups of sugar in a large saucepan, heat to boiling. Add pecans, cook for 3 minutes. The sugar is magically liquidated. They will be coated in a syrupy glaze. They will be cheerful pecans.
As the pecans are hot tubing it with the sugar babes, in a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the extra ¼ cup of sugar, brown sugar, spices and salt.
Drain pecans, pour into another medium bowl, and then coat with the sugary, spicy mixture. Distribute pecans onto parchment-lined sheet pans. Arrange pieces so they are not touching (sort of). Finger licking allowed.
Toast in oven for 10 minutes (see tips). Remove from oven, cool completely and store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature (as if they would last that long).
· Every oven is different. After some trial and error (mostly errors), I now bake at 400 degrees for 9-10 minutes. The goal is to avoid charring on one side, though a little matters little. (That would be the bottom side.)
· Parchment paper is VERY important. I learned the hard way.
· Don’t worry about total separation of the pecans. Pecans are affectionate nuts. Besides, they are just looking for their better halves.
· No calorie or fat counts provided. But as mentioned in my previous post, it IS a good thing that Christmas comes only once a year.
*Guys might be tempted to buy pecans still encased in nature’s shell. If so, I recommend spreading them out on the garage floor and attacking them with a sledgehammer. It helps release holiday stress.