Candied nuts are a rich, hearty treat and a great pairing with a whiskey-based cocktail. They can also be a great addition to a cheeseboard or appetizer spread. It's an easy recipe and something you can make in less than half an hour. The nuts can be enjoyed on their own or added to salads, rice dishes, or desserts.
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of cayenne pepper or dash of Sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)
- 2 cups (6 ounces) pecan halves
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a silicone baking mat.
Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, cayenne pepper, vanilla, water, and the orange zest (optional) to a medium skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often until the brown sugar melts into a bubbling sauce (about 1 minute).
Add the pecans and stir so that the brown sugar sauce coats them. Cook, stirring the entire time, until the pecans look candied and smell a bit nutty (2 to 3 minutes). As the nuts heat up, the sauce will slowly coat them and become shiny. Watch closely so the nuts do not scorch.
Transfer the candied pecans to the baking sheet and spread them into a single layer. Allow the pecans to cool, and then break them apart if necessary before serving.
Store cooled candied nuts in an airtight container. They will last at room temperature for at least one week and in the refrigerator for several weeks.
These flavorful treats are a great gift for friends or a wonderful addition to bring to a party at a friend's house.