Sweet & Salty Candied Pecans

On my walk home from meeting a friend for an ambitiously early breakfast on Saturday, I made plans to use my morning meal, complete with endless coffee, as a catalyst for a day of ultra-productivity. Instead, it seems — and this part I don’t remember — I crawled into bed and fell into a sleep so deep it could be broken not by conventional means, but only by the sounds of the BBC World Service, paused an hour earlier (apparently), mysteriously coming back to life. Just minutes before waking, I’d received a invitation by text, of which my sleeping self had taken no notice, to tag along for my nephew’s first trip to the farmers’ market. And so I was off, for an afternoon of baby time, busking and the star of today’s post: sweet and salty candied pecans. 

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My sister and brother-in-law picked up a bag of these guys from the market and, over a post-adventure cup of tea (earlier ambitions altogether abandoned), half of them disappeared. And it would be silly to have expected otherwise; these things are like the essence of a sweet ginger cookie, wrapped around a perfectly roasted pecan. With a touch of saltiness to counter the sweet, they’re endlessly eatable. 

Having tried a recipe that produced similar results not too long ago, and with a hefty bag of pecans in need of use, I took a shot at recreating the farmers’ market variety. And while the results were a bit sweeter and a little less gingery than the two pecans I had saved from the day before, a good number have since disappeared, even though I’m the only one around to eat them. And guys, though the evidence is starting to suggest otherwise, I usually have an iron will when it comes to snacking.

pecan-pair.jpgWith that in mind, I’ve yet to decide whether the significantly reduced price tag associated with making these at home — a 1/3 pound bag at the market sets you back $10 — is a good thing, given the addiction factor. I guess, given that the technique outlined in the recipe below is pretty flexible (you can switch up the nuts and spices, and cut back on the sugar), it’s probably worthwhile from a cooking know-how perspective to try them out yourself. And if you don’t leave them sitting out on the counter all day, you’ll be left with a versatile treat — think: salads, cheese plates, ice cream, snacks — that’ll last you a good long while. Or maybe it’s better just to share. You know, get rid of them, before they get rid of you.  

And so, with great trepidation and without further ado, here it is: the recipe. Good luck!
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Sweet & Salty Candied Pecans
Inspired by treats from the Strathcona Farmers’ Market, with recipe guidance from smittenkitchen.com
Makes 4+ cups

Ingredients
⅔ cup white sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
4 cups of whole pecans

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together sugars, ginger, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. In a large bowl, combine egg white and water and whisk until foamy (this’ll take one to two minutes).

3. Add your pecans to the bowl with the egg white and stir until the pecans are evenly coated with the egg white foam.

4. Pour the spiced sugar overtop the pecans and stir until the pecans are evenly coated with sugar.

5. Spread the pecans in a single layer overtop the two baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the coating has dried out and the pecans are toasty. Cool and eat!

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