Writing and holiday baking get shoe-horned into my hectic schedule this time of the year. This post is from a year ago, but I thought it worth sharing again. There may be more reposts this month as I am traveling to Indiana, Maine and Minnesota to see productions of the Christmas plays I wrote with Laura Ambler.
These are supposed to be called Cinnamon Sugared Pecans, but they are so addictive so I renamed them Crack Pecans. I made a batch because I was supposed to take tossed salads to two events. I put the nuts I needed in two baggies, but there were delicious leftovers. I should have thrown them out or put them in the trunk of my car where they would be too much trouble to get to. There should be step meetings for these pecans.
My husband got a few.
Then one of the dinner events was cancelled at the last minute. So that bag of nuts came into play. As I sat in my office, trying to focus on writing, I could hear them faintly calling my name. Mala mala mala mala mala — You just have to answer after awhile.
The second dinner is tonight. I am exercising self-control. The pecans are safe for the moment. I have blueberries and sliced strawberries to go into this salad and a lovely, light lemon and honey dressing. It’s going to be delicious.
Here’s the recipe for Crack Pecans. These make terrific hostess gifts. Be advised that checking for crunch in the final stages is where the addiction begins. Consider yourself warned.
Mala’s Crack Pecans (from Cookingclassy.com website who stole it from allrecipes.com where I made tweaks)
- 1 lb pecan halves (4 cups)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp vanilla (up to 1 tbsp)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (can be half white, half brown)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (can add ½ tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cayenne for kick)
- ½ tsp salt (can be up to 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with water and vanilla until very frothy. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg white mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour half of the sugar mixture over pecans and toss several times, then add remaining sugar mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour coated pecans over a parchment paper lined backing sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.
Notes: If you double this recipe you could keep the cinnamon sugar amounts the same. It’s plenty of sweet. If you do this, make it in two batches using two sheet pans. Four cups is just the right amount for one sheet pan. The nuts won’t get crunchy if there are too many on the sheet at one time.
I use sheet pans with a silpat liner. You can also use parchment paper.The sheet pan has sides so the nuts don’t fall out.
The final 15 minutes in the oven is crucial to make them crunchy. I checked them after what I thought was the final time and they still weren’t dry in the middle, so I put them in for another 15 minutes. The first two times you stir them they will be sticky. They may need a little additional time in the oven. Just keep checking for crunch. I like adding that little bit of cayenne for a little heat. If you’re planning to use them as an appetizer with cheese and fruit, you could add more salt as well.