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Friday, December 24, 2010

Easy Candied Pecans

Last year, I posted a recipe for candied nuts. They are delicious and beautiful. However, they are kind of a pain in the tuckus to make... relatively speaking, anyways. They're fine if you are making a dish of them to put out as appetizers or what not. What they're not so great for is that moment when you decide you're in the mood for a tasty salad with some candied pecans for crunch and you want them to basically prepare themselves while you put your salad together.

So, I came up with this little recipe. They are just as tasty as the original version, although they don't have quite as crunchy a kick. They aren't quite as pretty either, since they don't end up encased in beautiful sugar crystals. What they are is quick, easy, and delicious. I can put them on the stove when I start making my salad and they are typically done before I have finished putting the salad together.

The first step is to mix together a little brown sugar, kosher salt, and cinnamon. The proportions here are up to you. I usually mix together about two tablespoons of sugar, a dash of salt, and dash of cinnamon. I simply toss the three of them together with my fingers.

Throw your pecan pieces in a dry saute pan over medium to medium high heat. I store my nuts in the freezer, so it takes a few minutes for them to thaw out before they start toasting. Keep an eye on them and shake the pan periodically to move them about. When they start to brown and you can smell their toasty nuttiness, throw in some of the sugar. Don't go too crazy adding sugar; you don't want the nuts swimming in it. In the following picture you can get an idea of the proportions I use. Stir until all the sugar is melted and starting to brown a bit.

The last step is to pour the nuts out onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool. Some of the sugar will be left behind in the pan. Pull the nuts apart with a fork or other utensil, otherwise they'll all stick together as they cool. Give them about five minutes to cool and harden before serving.

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