Monday, December 20, 2010

Candied pecans with a twist


Candied pecans are actually one of the most addicting foods out there. In my mind the best candied nuts are those found on the streets of New York at the Hot Nut carts. They're crunchy and sweet, with a hint of saltiness. And oh-so addicting. So I put together a recipes that tastes exactly like the ones you get on the streets of New York. And look how awesome they look. Really. Look at them. Yum.

So What's so special about this recipe? Instead of making the pecans with sugar, I use maple syrup! It makes the pecans taste extra flavorful. It also allows you to skip the caramelization process (which is hard to do perfectly), and go straight to the eating step. WOOHOO! So, without further adieu, my special candied pecans! Oh, lastly: know that you can substitute any nut into this recipe. I'm a huge fan of almonds, so I may make them too this weekend...

For the pecans:

2 cups roasted, salted pecans
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, toast the pecans until hot (this allows them to lose any excess steam, making the final product more crunchy), 4-5 minutes. Once toasted, turn the heat down to medium and add the butter, letting it mix throughout. Once the butter is incorporated, add the maple syrup and the salt. If you are comfortable, toss-mix the pecans in the pan. If not, simply stir the pecans with a wooden spoon to help the absorption process. This should take another 5 minutes. At first it will look like there's too much liquid in the pan, but as the maple syrup gets hot it will subsume into the pecans. Once it looks like the liquid is nearly gone and the pecans are shiny, take the mixture off the heat and immediately pour onto a wax-lined sheet of parchment paper, or a greased piece of aluminum foil (whichever is handy!).  Let cool before eating, as the pecans will be super hot. Bon app├ętit!

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