Years ago I shared a stove-top candied pecan recipe on Fit and Fed. I preferred that at the time because the nuts were right under my eye, so little chance of burning them. It’s still a nice quick way to make candied nuts, but by now I’ve gotten comfortable with the oven method, too. Assuming I stay attentive to the time, the results are predictable and good.
The nuts are baked at a temperature that’s close to what would burn them, so the sugar caramelizes a little and develops great flavor. I’ve tried roasting them at a slightly lower temperature but the nuts just aren’t as good. I set a timer to stir the nuts halfway through and for the end. Ovens vary (and mine has a drafty door) so watch yours, you may need to experiment a bit to get the best temperature for your oven.
After taking the nuts out of the oven, I mix them with an extra drizzle of maple syrup and the salt and demerara sugar. My aim in adding a little more maple syrup is to get all the crystallized sugar to stick to the nuts without melting the sugar.
I hope you will enjoy these. We use them a lot in dinner salads and also in a roasted sweet potato/candied pecan/cranberry salad that I hope to share in the fall.
- 2 cups pecan halves (8 oz)
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup, plus a drizzle more (tsp?)
- ¼ tsp flaked salt
- 2 Tbsp. demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Mix the pecan halves with the maple syrup in a bowl.
- Place the pecan halves on a parchment-paper covered baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the nuts around on the baking sheet halfway through.
- Remove promptly at 15 minutes to avoid burning.
- 'Pour' the hot nuts immediately off the parchment paper into a bowl.
- Drizzle the nuts with a little more maple syrup, stir, add the sugar and salt and mix together.
- I specified demerara sugar and flaked salt for the big crunchy crystals: if you don't have those, regular brown sugar and salt will suffice.
- Spread the nuts out to cool on a baking sheet covered with a fresh sheet of parchment paper.