December 20, 2010 by Flora Dawn
Candy coated pecan. If you enjoy snacking on pecans and walnuts, I am sure you’ve tried these sugary, or often spicy, confections that appear this time of year. They are delicious and highly addictive.
Well, I have always wanted to make some myself, but having a daughter with a tree nut allergy means that I avoid having nuts in the house. So, this year I decided to pack up the ingredients and go out to my mom’s house and make some. I opted to use a recipe from my local cookbook author, Diane Morgan.
They have a slightly crunchy, sweet meringue glaze. They aren’t difficult, but I must warn you they do take a bit of kitchen time and you’ll want to be nearby as they need stirred often while baking. However, they are absolutely delicious and and I think they make the perfect food gift, if you are generous enough to share.
I have seen extremely similar recipes that completely omit the butter, you just place the meringue-coated pecans on a well greased baking sheet, which would be a healthier option. But, being the holidays, I just went for all the butter!
I think 1 tsp of cinnamon and/or a dash of cayenne would really make these extra special.
- 4 egg whites at room temperature (do not use refrigerated liquid egg whites)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 pounds shelled pecan halves
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- Position rack in the center of oven. Preheat oven to 275. You’ll need two 9×13 pans or large, rimmed baking sheets.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Add salt and beat on medium-high speed until soft beaks form, about 2-3 more minutes.
- In a separate bowl, add the brown sugar and pour vanilla over. Then add sugar, 2 TB at a time, to egg white mixture, beating to form a shiny meringue. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the pecans into the meringue.
- Place one stick of butter into each pan and place in oven until butter melts, but does not brown; this takes about 3-5 minutes. Gently place pecans over butter, but try not to really stir them or the meringue will deflate.
- Bake for 20 minutes; stir and rotate pans in oven. Bake an additional 15 minutes, stir. Continue baking in 15 minute intervals, stirring until nuts are separated and browned and all the butter has been absorbed (about 30-45 more minutes).
- Turn nuts out on aluminum foil and allow to cool. Store in airtight container or bag (they will keep for 2-3 weeks).