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How: Candied Nuts?

would like to candy some pecans tonight. have tried a few methods already but none have worked that great for me. i've tried on the stove top with brown sugar and didn't like the result (melting first then stirring in the nuts). i tried the oven once by misting them with water then rolling in sugar, the nuts were done before the sugar carmelized so that didn't work. using maple syrup on the stove top works great but as much as i like maple flavor i prefer sugar.

any recommendations are appreciated!

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    1. Right on, corn syrup is the key. Roast 'em in syrup until you can smell that they're done -- and be sure and space them widely and shake the pan EVERY three or four minutes. Then you can pop them out while they're still hot and toss them in sugar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jeremy

        thanks! so jeremy, you roast them in the oven (coated w/corn syrup) then toss them in sugar after they're done roasting? just making sure i got what you're saying.

        Thanks again!

      2. On Baking With Julia, one of the pastry chefs made candied walnuts and I think she just cooked sugar until it was at the hard crack/caramel stage and dipped the nuts in to coat and then removed them to a sheet of parchment to harden.

        A bit different from the other roasting techniques, but they looked really good.

        1. i usually toss the nuts in beaten egg whites, then coat with a mixture of brown and white sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so. Use parchment paper or even tin foil, oitherwise it is hard to clean.

          1. For the past several holiday seasons I have been experimenting with roasting a wide variety of nuts using recipes found on the internet and from several books. The following is a blend of using my favorite method of roasting spiced nuts and using some of spices found in one of Emeril's recipes. It has turned out to be everyone in my family's favorite. The key is roasting on a single layer at a low temperature until all of the liquid has set....about 45 minutes... and to make sure you turn them several times during the roasting period. And, don't omit the parchment paper. Buy the best nuts you can find in local markets. I often visit Georgia and am able to buy pecans direct from the growers.

            Cinnamon and Spice Glazed Pecans

            1 large egg white (3 tablespoons)
            1 teaspoon water
            ½ cup sugar
            6 tablespoons brown sugar
            1 teaspoon kosher salt
            1 teaspoon cinnamon
            1 teaspoon vanilla
            ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
            ½ teaspoon ground cumin
            4 cups raw unsalted pecans (substitute or mix raw walnut halves)

            Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites to a froth. Add water, sugar, brown sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin and vanilla. Toss pecans into the mixture until well coated. Pour pecans onto the lined baking sheet. It is important to arrange a single layer of nuts and turn every 15 minutes to ensure even roasting. Remove from oven when meringue coating is dry, approximately 45 minutes.

            1. Windsor's recipe above sounds pretty damn good. Definitely going to try. Personally, I love the results when I do them on a stove-top -- somewhat birttle-like when cooled. Fast, easy, totally evil, totally yummy, However, from above, this sounds like this might be precisely what you're not interested in...

              1. I use the stovetop method, but I include a bit of butter (maybe 1/2 - 1 Tbsp, max) in with my brown sugar. Take some patience to melt the sugar, but the nuts are oh so good when all is said and done. I usually salt and cayenne pepper. Addictive!

                2 Replies
                1. re: TorontoJo

                  Sounds v. similar to mine. The trick is actually getting people to hold off eating them until they've cooled as they get a really nice crunch to them then -- a little soft before fully cooled but still good.

                  Have a pistachio version I do with jaggery, cardamum, cayenne and salt which is a bit more controversial but I totally love.

                  1. re: bite bite

                    I sometimes put cumin in mine -- gives a great curry undertone, so I can totally see the cardomom.

                2. These are my gift-giving nuts, adapted from a recipe on marthastewart.com.

                  3 Tablespoons butter
                  2 cups pecan halves
                  1/2 cup sugar
                  1 teaspoon salt
                  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (I grind fresh from cumin seeds)
                  1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more, if you like more heat)

                  1. Measure and mix salt, cumin, and cayenne in a bowl large enough to hold the nuts later.
                  2. Heat butter in a skillet (large enough to hold nuts in a single layer...otherwise, you'll need to do in batches) over medium heat. Add nuts and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until nuts are browned and sugar has lightly caramelized. (Keep a close eye on this. I know you're not supposed to stir the sugar when you're making caramel sauce, but I do here, as I need to turn the pecans for even browning. People seem to like them, even if I have broken a rule.)
                  3. Remove from heat and add to bowl of spice mixture. Toss.
                  4. Taste and adjust seasoning. If not sweet enough, you can add a bit more sugar. Ditto the other seasonings.
                  5. Lay on a cookie sheet to cool. You may need to break apart, as the caramelized sugar can harden quickly and your pecans may clump together. (In truth, I kind of like running into a couple of stuck together pecans while noshing on these.)
                  6. Once cool, store in airtight container.