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~ Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans ~

PICT5582 What?  Sugar-crusted pecans in July?  Shouldn't Mel be posting this around Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Well folks, while we mostly associate these addictive little treats with holiday snacks and hostess gifts (presented in pretty little glass jars all adorned with ribbons and a bow), I'm posting this in July because I'm going to be using them in a few sumptuous salad and scrumptious dessert recipes this Summer.  In fact, I'm going to be using them later today to garnish a spectacular grilled pineapple dessert to kick off our 4th of July weekend.

PICT5569 There are a lot of recipes for making sugar-crusted pecans and they along with the method for baking the pecans really don't vary very much from cook to cook.  All of the recipes are quite easy, including mine, which I'm sharing with you today. How the recipes do differ usually revolves around the type and intensity of the spices.

So, what makes my sugar-crusted spiced pecan recipe blog-worthy? For starters I beat my egg white with vanilla extract instead of plain water which adds a layer of flavor instead of just tasteless adhesive for the sugar and spice mixture to stick to.  Next, I add two spices which compliment each other and the pecans perfectly:  ground cinnamon and ground cloves. Lastly, I do not skimp on the spices.  Once you taste these, I'm pretty sure you'll agree this is a special recipe:

PICT55482 1/2  cups pecan or walnut halves, about 11-12 ounces

1  extra-large egg white, at room temperature

2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract, not imitation

1  cup sugar

2  tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon ground cloves

1/2  teaspoon salt 



~ Step 1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

~ Step 2.  In an 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish, using a tablespoon, thoroughly combine the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Set aside.

~ Step 3.  In a medium mixing bowl, over medium-high speed of hand-held electric mixer beat the egg white and the vanilla together until frothy, about 30-45 seconds.

PICT5555 ~ Step 4.  Add the pecan halves to the egg mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the pecans into the egg mixture until they are all thoroughly and evenly coated.

PICT5559 ~ Step 5. Add pecan mixture to spice mix. Using the spatula, fold the pecans into the spice mixture until they are all thoroughly and evenly coated.

PICT5563 ~ Step 6.  Transfer pecans to a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Using your fingers, do your best to spread them out in a single layer. Note:  Even though you will be stirring occasionally throughout the baking process, getting them in a single layer initially gets them off to a really good start to becoming super-crunchy.

PICT5567 ~ Step 7.  Bake on center rack of preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour.  About every 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and using a large spoon or spatula, give them a quick stir.

Remove from oven and cool completely in pan, about 1 1/2-2 hours prior to using or storing them.

Here is a picture of coarsely chopped sugar-crusted pecans garnishing my recipe for ~ Spit-Roasted Pineapple a la Steven Raichlen ~, which you can find by clicking into Categories  6, 10 or 21!

PICT0132 Super-Crunchy Sugar-Crusted Spiced Pecans:  Recipe yields 2 1/2 cups.

Special Equipment List: 8" x 8" x 2" baking dish; tablespoon; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; large spoon or spatula

Cook's Note:  For the most part, I just place these in a pretty bowl on my kitchen counter for passers by to gleefully munch on.  However, if you've made several batches of them, they can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)


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