Candied pecans. Made with sugar and spice—specifically cinnamon and nutmeg—and everything nice, these sublime noshes are a must for holiday cocktail parties as well as for salads.
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes about 5 cups
Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C). Butter a rimmed baking sheet.
In a bowl, beat the egg white, vanilla, and water just until very frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the pecans to the egg-white mixture and gently toss to coat. Transfer the nuts to the sugar mixture and toss to coat. Spread the nuts evenly on the baking sheet.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the pecans carefully during the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking for doneness. The nuts should be a lovely golden brown, crunchy, and evenly coated with the hardened sugar coating when they come out of the oven. Store the pecans in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. [Editor’s Note: Hah! 2 weeks. We defy you to get them to last past the first night. But if you hide some, as we did, and manage to ignore their siren call, as we did, you’ll find them just as tempting at 2 weeks old as you did the very first day.]
- Cayenne Candied Pecans
When combining the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as written.
- Candied Walnuts
Swap walnuts for the pecans. Proceed with the recipe as written.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
These candied pecans are absolutely perfect, except perhaps for the fact that I might not share them because they are so addictively good. I made a batch using half walnuts and half pecans, and while I was worried they might become a hard, solid mass on the baking sheet, by stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, they neatly fell apart into individual pieces as they baked and were ready at the end of the hour.
The egg white mixture transforms them and they are crunchy then crumbly all the way through in a transformed way, not hard or sticky like many caramelized treatments that more resemble a brittle that has to be broken apart. I'm looking forward to making a batch with a little bit of cayenne next.
The pecans are a great holiday treat, though they will be hard to give away.
Cursing this recipe, as we Can. NOT. Stop. Eating. Them. I knew I should've made a smaller batch. I have a few recipes for candied pecans and other nuts using egg white, but this one will definitely become my go-to recipe. The balance of sweet/spice/salty is perfect and the coating is not too thick.
Even better? The nuts didn't all stick to each other, as they sometimes do with this method. I think it's because I whisked the egg white with an electric beater (other methods do not call for this—some methods don't even call for the egg white to be whisked at all, and what results is a gloopy mess), so the coating was light and coated all the nuts evenly. The nuts currently in our wine cellar in airtight containers, and we keep sneaking a few when we go past. They're holding up well but I doubt they'll last for 2 weeks.