Sweet and maple-y with a touch of salt, these maple candied pecans will be ready to top your salad or dessert with less than five minutes work. This recipe has three ingredients and no added oil.
You can candy nuts either on the range or in the oven. I’ve done it both ways, but I prefer the range. It takes only two or three minutes to stir and melt the sugar in a small pan and mix in the nuts. The nuts stay under my direct observation, unlike in the oven where I’m liable to wander off and let them scorch.
If you’d rather try the oven method, mix the nuts with maple syrup or honey, put them on an oiled piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and bake for around fifteen minutes at 325F or thirty minutes at 300F, checking and stirring often to prevent burning.
I’ve learned to make these in small batches. In theory, I could make a bigger batch and put the extra in a Mason jar to use later on. In practice, when I do that I snack on them, and they’re gone by the time I want to use them again. But they are easy enough to make that it’s no trouble to whip out a batch.
Dark brown muscovado sugar has a complex flavor and makes an interesting substitution for the maple sugar, giving the nuts a definite but not overly strong molasses flavor. Either maple or muscovado sugar can be found at QFC, Whole Foods, or Amazon.
- 3 Tbs. maple sugar, divided (2 Tbs. in the pan, 1 Tbs. later after nuts have been mixed in)
- 4 oz or about 1 cup of pecans
- ¼ to ½ tsp. salt, depending on taste
- alternate option- use dark muscovado sugar instead of maple sugar for a molasses-y flavor
- Put the sugar in a small, shallow pan. I used a non-stick pan.
- Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to keep the sugar from scorching.
- In two to three minutes the sugar will become stringy like taffy and then melt completely.
- Put the nuts in the pan as soon as the sugar has melted and stir to coat.
- Turn off the flame.
- Quickly, while the nuts are still hot and sticky, add one more tablespoon of sugar and salt to taste and stir the nuts.
- This will give the nuts a granular sugar coating.
- You can start with ¼ tsp. of salt, and add more if you wish.
- Separate the nuts immediately so they do not stick to each other.
- They can cool on a plate for a couple of minutes, then they will be ready to use.