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Homemade Sahale Snacks -- Valdosta Pecans

Hi there--
Does anyone have a recipe to make a snack mix like the Sahale Brand mix called Valdosta Pecans? It has pecans, cranberries, black pepper, and orange zest. Very yummy but also expensive to keep the teenager's tummy full.

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  1. I'm looking for the recipe also. It couldn't be hard. My parents have a dozen pecan trees that will be harvested after Christmas and I would like this recipe to enjoy. Recently I purchased the Sahale item at Costco. 15oz for $9.99. It seems like the nuts are toasted/roasted with a light syrup and black pepper is added along with dried cranberries and orange. Please let me know if you have any success.

    1. I too have been looking for a recipe, but in my frustration tried my own.

      I started small not knowing how it would go.

      I melted 1 TBLS of butter and added about a tsp of fresh orange zest.
      I tossed that with 1 cup of pecans and spread the pecans on a baking sheet. (I use parchment when baking so I used it for the pecans too.)
      In a separate bowl I mixed 1 TBLS brown sugar, 1 tsp coarse ground pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt. I sprinkled that over the nuts, then baked in the oven @ 250 for about an hour. I stirred the nuts every 10-15 min.
      When they were completely cool I mixed with 3/4-1 cup dried cranberries.

      The mistake I made was in thinking I didn't have enough pepper on them, so I did add more after the 1st stir... it's hard to tell how much is on there when the pecans are warm and I added too much.

      I might try my next batch by tossing the pecans in a mixture of simple sugar (made with brown sugar) and butter, but I'm pretty satisfied with these.

      The original Valdosta Pecans does not list butter in the ingredients, but rather something called Tapioca Syrup.

      Good luck and please let me know if/when you improve on this.

      11 Replies
      1. re: clwseattle

        I've got a package sitting on the counter, waiting for me to try to duplicate. I've been tempted to just eat them, but I must resist in the name of science.

        I was thinking I'd try to make a peppery zesty simple syrup, and then toss to coat the pecans and cranberries and bake a bit. I'm guessing the tapioca is just a starch thickener to get a heavier, glossier coating on the nuts.

        The subtle bit will be extracting the zest oils from the orange peel; a water-based syrup is unlikely to work; perhaps a soak in a wee bit of vodka? Or perhaps just mix the shaved zest with some granular sugar to pull out the oils via capillary action.. or just cheat with some commercial essential oil.

        1. re: GravySpider

          Good idea... but I don't think the cranberries are tossed with anything or baked... I think they are added to the pecans anfter they have been prepared.

          1. re: clwseattle

            Thank goodness you all are out there trying. Please keep the posts coming. I'll be cracking some pecans this weekend and would love to try the recipe.

            1. re: MAYBELLINE

              I've tried Again! This time I expanded on GravySpider's idea of a simple syrup.

              I strained the pulp out of 2 TBLS of ORANGE JUICE and combined it in a pan with 1 TBLS of BUTTER and 2 TBLS of BROWN SUGAR and a couple scrapings of FRESH ORANGE ZEST.. When it was melted and a smooth hot syrup, I removed it from the heat, added a cup of PECANS and tossed to coat. Instead of just dumping the entire thing onto a baking pan, I removed the pecans with a slotted spoon, letting the excess syrup drain back into the pan. I added more nuts until I used all the syrup. I ground some SEA SALT and some PEPPER over them and baked at 250 for about an hour, tossing every 10-15 min. Again, I used parchment on my baking sheet.

              I noticed in tasting them when I was supposed to be tossing them that the pepper was very strong and I was worried that the syrup would prevent the nuts from crisping up, but after they finished cooking and cooled completely , they were perfectly toasted. I added the cranberries and VOILA!... not a perfect match (yet!) but great tasting and quite similar

              My problem seems to be with the salt and pepper... I can't quite get it right. Also, I think this last batch needed just a touch more orange flavor. I've been gentle with the amount of zest I've been adding and intend to be more agressive next time around.

              Good luck and please post your experiments and results.

              1. re: clwseattle

                Wow, thanks for sticking to this task!! This recipe does sound like it should work. Did you toast your pecans before you put them in the syrup and then again after they were dipped, or did you use raw pecans? My son and I will try to tackle this recipe and will report back on how it turns out.

                1. re: bards4

                  LOL! I took those pecans right out of the Costco bag, Bards! I can't wait to hear how yours turned out and how/if you tweaked it!

                2. re: clwseattle

                  OK, first--thanks for being the ONLY people on the web to tackle this recipe! I've searched everywhere after becoming addicted to these and wanting to make some for Christmas gifts. After reading all of your comments, and knowing that I LOVE orange flavor, I decided to soak the pecans in some Patron Citronge fine orange liqueur (like cointreau only better.) It didn't take much, I put a whole 2 lb bag of Costco pecans in a bowl and drizzled the Patron over it, then tossed. I repeated clwseattle's recipe, only x8, and with these additions: some fine ground white pepper in the syrup, one teaspoon of Penzy's orange extract, and a T of Mexican vanilla. I did an entire orange zested, as was suggested to amp up the orange.
                  My initial batch is now waiting for parchment paper to come from the grocery store (thanks to my hubby!), but not being the patient type I dunked a handful of nuts in the syrup, strained them, cracked sea salt and pepper over them and put them in the microwave to roast for 90 sec. Let me tell you----YUMMMMM!!! Needed more salt and a bit more pepper, but initial results are quite similar to the Sahale ones. Will report back when final product is done!

                  1. re: KirstenLyn

                    i'm looking forward to it! thanks for reporting, kirsten!

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Ok, testing complete and distributed for consumption! My 8x recipe for the butter/juice/sugar did 4 lbs of nuts. The hour long roasting did wonders for the sauce turning crunchy on the almonds. I did up the oven temp to 275 for the last 15 minutes. Tossed the hot sticky nuts into the cranberries (after cracking sea salt and pepper over them) and then mixed with tongs. Laid it all out on wax paper to cool. Delicious! My only problem thus far is that storing them in tins made them sticky again, although ones left out in a bowl did fine. Definitely close to the flavor, though! They were a hit with our family and friends!

                      1. re: KirstenLyn

                        sounds like success! congratulations. i'd eat way too many, i'm afraid!

                3. re: MAYBELLINE

                  Hi Maybelline!
                  Thanks so much for your determination. I picked up a bag of these and became immediately addicted. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find them at my local Costco again. Sooooo - I took your recipe and VOILA! Yummy! I did make a few adjustments that I thought I would share with you. When I did my first batch, I found that baking them at 250 caused the pecans to roast and almost had an overcooked taste. On the second batch, I simply threw the nuts into the syrup (which I had added the pepper to) and cooked them for a few minutes that way. Then threw the cranberries in for about 30 seconds so they too were covered in the syrup which helped the pecans and cranberries stick together. I dumped all out on the parchment and then added salt. I let them sit for 10 minutes and they were perfect. Much faster and easier than baking/turning.

          2. http://sahalesnacks.com/ideas_06.asp

            When you all figure out the recipe, give this amazing pie a go!

            1. this thread may give you some ideas: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/487036
              or maybe this fabulous recipe can be adapted with your desired flavors: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. I love them too, but during a boring evening last week, I came up with the most wonderful substitution. Like the Valdosta pecans, they are sweet & peppery & utterly dangerous. I used almonds, because they are my favorite and I had a lot of them, but I think any nut would do. Be sure to make a lot, because they will disappear sooner than you think. All the ingredients are simple and, with the exception of the vanilla, are easily found in your cupboard or grocery store. You will want to purchase the brand name product "Sugar In The Raw". This specific brand is readily available at all grocery stores and has a large, chunky granule (which you need) as opposed to generic raw sugar which is very fine. The only ingredient that you may not find at your grocery store is Mexican vanilla. If you use a regular vanilla, you will be wasting ingredients, time and money. You need Mexican vanilla to make these nuts truly extraordinary. Mexican vanilla is completely different from what you get at the store. It is a cheaper product, so you need to use a little more than usual. It has a richer, sweeter, almost pipe tobacco-like aroma, and the taste is simply out of this world. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it. Find a bodega or a store in your area that stocks Mexican products - they will have it. After spending a little time in the oven, the distinct flavors in the Mexican vanilla will echo the flavors of the spicy black pepper and molasses-like flavor of the raw sugar. It is inexpensive and found at any bodega, so go and get it!

                Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat if you have one. Make a simple syrup: gently heat 1/2 c water & 1/2 c sugar until fully dissolved. Once the syrup has cooled, add 1 Tablespoon of the Mexican vanilla (yes, Tablespoon - you need to use more Mexican vanilla than conventional vanilla). In a bowl, pour cooled vanilla syrup over 4 cups raw almonds (or your nut of choice) and toss until coated. In another large bowl, combine 1.5 cups "Sugar In The Raw" with 1/4 teaspoon kosher/coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper. Add all the wet nuts into the bowl at once and stir with a spoon or your hands until the nuts are well coated with the salty sugar/pepper mixture. Spread out on the sheet and place in oven for anywhere from 10 minutes onward, afterwards checking every 2 or 3 minutes or so, based on your preference. Let cool and enjoy. They are sublime.

                1. The real trick with spiced nuts is to use egg whites. That's what gives you that coating with the sugar. :D

                  Since no one has posted in "recipe" format, I'll post mine.

                  NOTE: I have NOT tested this yet, so if someone would like to tackle it, please let me know what you get? I'm really sick, and can't do much in the way of cooking now, and I only have custody of my sous chef half time. (My 14 year old son). *laugh*

                  Orange and Pepper Spiced Pecans with Dried Cranberries
                  1. 3/4 cup sugar
                  2. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
                  3. 1 tablespoon black pepper
                  4. 1 tablespoon orange zest
                  5. 1 large egg white
                  6. 3 cups pecans
                  7. 1 cup dried cranberries
                  Preheat the oven to 300°. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, pepper and orange zest. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the pecans, dried cranberries and spiced sugar and toss. Spread out the nuts and berries on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring once, until browned. Let cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JusticeFlight

                    Ok, I took a little time at breakfast and made an omelet... and these. Here's what I found out:

                    1. Perhaps a little less pepper... unless you really like that extra kick. For us wimps, cut pepper to 2 teaspoons (or even one). It's not so peppery as to be ridiculous (Would you like some pecans to go with your pepper, sir?) just more than I was expecting.

                    2. I made a half batch, but used a whole egg white. I don't know if it makes a big difference, but I'll try to make another batch soon (or have my sous chef do it next week when I have custody). XD

                    3. DEFINITELY add the cranberries before cooking. They have a certain... chewiness that's perfect. To be honest, in the Sahale version of these, I like the craisins best. One thing I did notice was that Sahale uses either halved dried cranberries or some kind of leftovers. Have you ever noticed that the dried cranberries that Sahale uses aren't whole? (Note to self: Hey self... next time, add about a half a cup more to your own batch if you like.) 8-D

                    4. Next time, I think I'll start taking 1/6th or so out at 20 minutes, and then every 5 minutes thereafter, so that I have 6 piles, each at a different cooking time, and therefore, different consistency.

                    5. I've used a superfine sugar, and I think it turned out well.

                    Anyone else?

                    1. re: JusticeFlight

                      Wow, as the original poster for this (in 2007???), I sure do appreciate your posting this! I also appreciate that you tested it out and gave such great feedback. I will try it myself while my teenager in question is still a teenager -- he turns 20 in January! Thank you again!!

                      1. re: JusticeFlight

                        JusticeFlight - I used your recipe with a few tweaks and it was AWESOME! I took the pecans to a book club meeting and everyone kept saying how addictive they were. Thanks so much :)

                        This is my final version of your recipe:

                        Orange and Pepper Spiced Pecans with Dried Cranberries

                        1. 3/4 cup sugar - I used Turbinado for a little added flavor and texture
                        2. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
                        3. 1 tablespoon black pepper - I used the full amount
                        4. 1 tablespoon orange zest
                        5. 1 large egg white
                        6. The juice of the orange
                        7. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
                        8. 4 cups pecans - I increased the pecan quantity due to adding more liquid to the egg white and because I had 'em
                        9. 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries very coarsely chopped
                        Preheat the oven to 300°. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, pepper and orange zest. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy and beat in the orange juice and maple syrup. Add the pecans, dried cranberries and spiced sugar and toss. Spread out the nuts and berries on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring once, until browned. Let cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally.