This Candied Pecan is so addictive, once you pop, you cannot stop. It’s perfect for snacking, perfect for salad too. But since it’s the holiday season, this could go perfectly for edible gift.
I really really really had to make this candied pecans, so bad! My friends and I went out for lunch in our favorite restaurant and I ordered Quinoa Salad. It’s a salad, I know sometimes it can be boring, but the one that I ordered was not. There’s nothing difficult about the salad, in fact it is so simple that I can replicate it at home. Just some basic ingredients, but there is one ingredient that stands out among all the ingredients. You can probably guess what it is because this is the reason why I am writing this post. It’s the candied pecans!
I can’t believe that I could really go crazy over a candied pecans. I was really head over heels in love with it (and I am still). It’s crunchy, buttery and mildy sweet. It’s so good! I was trying to fish more of it from the salad but unfortunately there is not much. As soon as I get back home I made it my mission to make this candied pecans. I’ve seen quite few recipes before last year during the holiday but I never got the chance to make it, although the intention was there. I guess having actually eaten it and enjoyed it as part of my salad gave me the push to finally make it, and so here I am sharing with you this candied pecans.
There is one ingredient that you wouldn’t expect in this candied pecans
This recipes uses only few ingredients, and there is one ingredient here that you might find surprising. It’s egg white! Because I’ve never made candied nuts before, I find it surprising to see egg white in the recipe, but then when I gave it a careful thought it does make sense to have egg white in this candied pecans. Although you can make it without it, I still prefer using egg white to make it. Two things, egg white helps the sugar to stick and coat the pecans. Second, it helps the coating to dry out nicely leaving a nice crispy crunchy candied pecans.
Once you pop, you cannot stop
Are you familiar with the line “once you pop you cannot stop”? Well, it’s like that for this pecans. I have to admit, I myself was surprise on how addicting it can be. I made this batch on a weekend, and I can happily report that I actually finished the entire thing before Monday! I was eating it while watching TV in my kitchen, I was eating it first thing in the morning, I had it with me in my purse when I went out, I was eating it like crazy! The more I ate it, the more I want more. And I thought 1 lb or pecans is too much, I was wrong.
Making a small batch? Divide ALL ingredients into half
I know 1 lb (16 ounces) of pecans sounds a lot of nuts, that’s what I thought before. Now I can say, it’s not a lot at all on the rate that it will disappear. But if you want to make it a small batch here a very important tip for you so you don’t make the same mistake as I did when I was making a smaller batch. Cut the recipe down by half, as in all the ingredients, yes including the egg whites. 1 large egg would have around 2-3 tbsp of egg white, sometimes 2 1/2 tbsp, which means you also have to divide that by 2. I tried to make a smaller batch before by cutting down the ingredients but I decided to still use 1 large egg because I don’t want to waste it. Big mistake, but I was happy I was still able to salvage it but transferring it the nuts in the strainer to remove excess syrup. The nuts still turnout ok, but it doesn’t have enough sweetness that I like. When you use more egg white for less pecans and sugar, you will end up having a puddle of thick syrup mixture because it doesn’t have anything much to hold on to. This also means that the sugar will dissolve and will not stick to the pecans, and you will not have those crystalized sugar coating the pecans. Those are the good stuff that you want in the candied pecans. Small batch or big batch, it your choice. But believe me when I tell you that you will not have a problem finishing a big batch of this nuts, take it from someone who loves making small batch. For this candied pecans, I’m all in for the big batch.
You wouldn’t believe how easy it was to make this candied pecans, even kids can make this. This is also a good use of leftover egg whites from baking which is often my problem when I make recipes that only calls for egg yolk like my Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookie or Small Batch Chocolate Cupcake. Besides, you can actually save a lot from making this than buying it and you can proudly say it’s homemade. The bonus point, it is also perfect for gift giving or give away. I’m pretty sure your friends will not say no to a bottle of this homemade crunchy sweet candied pecans. Let me show you how I made this. Let’s get started!
Tips to making a successful candied pecan:
- Watch out for the coating of sugar: What you are looking for is a nut that is fully covered with sugar and a clean bowl without a puddle of egg white and sugar syrup. The sugar syrup can happen if you have too much egg white with not enough pecans and sugar. To address this, either add a little bit more pecans and sugar.
- Mix after every 10 minutes: It my seem a lot of work to watch out every 10 minutes but it’s worth it. Mixing the pecans after every 10 minutes allows even browning and drying of nuts, and most importantly it will avoid burning the nuts. There are pecans that gets burn easily and there are some that can withstand high temperature without burning too fast. I’ve tried both types, and each time I used them, I have to adjust my baking time.
- Room temperature egg white: Although this is not a cake and we are not creaming anything here, it is still important to have a room temperature egg white so that it coats the pecans easily. A cold egg white is not loose and will clump together and will not be as frothy (bubbly) when whisk, which means difficulty in distributing it to coat the pecans.
Just 3 easy tips to remember, but it sure will give you a nice addictive candied homemade pecans.
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar – make it 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 – 4 cups of pecans halves, unsalted (If you use less than this measurement you have to decrease the egg white)
- 1 egg white – room temperature
- 1 tsp cinnamon – optional
- 1 tsp water
Test 2: Needs a little bit more sugar
Test 3: Use 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 350g nuts
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Mix the Sugars: In a large bowl, mix granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon (if using) and 1/2 tsp salt. Toss until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Whisk Egg White: In a separate bowl, add egg white and water then whisk until slightly frothy (bubbly).
- Add pecans and toss until combined and the pecans are coated with egg white. You should not have excess egg white after you’ve coated the pecans.
- Sugar + Pecan: Gradually add in the sugar mixture, and toss until combined. At this stage, the pecan should be coated with sugar, and again, no excess egg white and sugar syrup left in the bowl.
- Transfer in a Baking Sheet: Spread the mixture out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or silicone mat. If you are using a parchment paper or no parchment paper at all, the pecans will bake and dry faster than when using silicone mat. Pat attention if the coating is already dry then they are ready, you don’t have to complete the 40 minutes. I used silicone mat as liner for this and 40 minutes works just right.
- Sprinkle with Salt: Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt on top.
- Bake and mix after every 10 minutes in the baking time. Return to the oven after every mixing until the pecans are fragrant and the sugar-coating is dry. The sugar coating will harden more as it cools down.
- If using a silicone mat: 50 minutes
- If using parchment paper: 40 minutes
- Let Cool: Remove from the oven, and let the baking sheet cool on a cooling rack until the nuts reach room temperature. Transfer them to a sealed container and store at room temperature. Do not store in a hot area as the sugar could melt.
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