This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans is a wonderful all-purpose candied nut recipe. The pecans, which have a crunchy mahogany coating of sugar and spice, can be used in candies and desserts, or are equally good when topping salads or savory dishes. If you are very sensitive to spices, you might reduce the cayenne, and if you’re a pepper enthusiast, feel free to increase it. The amount as written gives the nuts a subtle but noticeable “kick."
You can use other nuts in place of the pecans, but pecans are my favorite because their sweet taste goes perfectly with this slightly spicy, slightly savory preparation.
Note: This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz's Pretzel & Nut Mix.
- 2 cups pecans (pieces or halves)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon real maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread the pecans on the baking sheet and toast them in the oven until dark and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir every 3 or 4 minutes.
- While the pecans are toasting, prepare the coating mixture. Microwave the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne.
- Once the pecans are fragrant, remove them from the oven and pour the hot nuts into the coating mixture. (Be careful as it might splutter and hiss.) Stir until the nuts are evenly coated, and pour them back onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread them in an even layer.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, stirring after every 3-4 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the nuts from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up on the baking sheet.
- Once cool, break the nuts apart or chop them coarsely. Store Sweet and Spicy Candied Pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.