Crunchy, lightly sweetened and packed with natural fresh Orange flavor. This Candied Orange Pecan with Dried Cranberry is great for snacking or as toppings for salad. A snacking item that is hard to stop eating once you start.
Few years ago, I made the plain version of Candied Pecans. The process is still the same as what I did with this variation, but I added few more ingredients to add more texture and flavor. Watch this video here to see how I made it, this is basically the same steps with just the addition of Cranberry and Orange zest.
This variation was flavored by zest of fresh Orange, and to add a bit more different texture and fun, I also added dried Cranberry for a sweet and tangy taste that compliments the crunchy Pecans. Let me walk you through on how I made this simple candied Orange and Pecan with Dried Cranberry.
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. So egg white it is.
Once you pop, you cannot stop
As I mention earlier, I made the plain version of candied Pecans before. Even with this new variation, I still stand by my thoughts that this is something that is totally addictive. Are you familiar with the line “once you pop you cannot stop”? Well, it’s like that for this pecans. I used this same line in my original post, and I am using it again and probably will be using it again when I made another variation. The crunchy sweet Pecan with sweet and tangy dried Cranberry and the nice citrus flavor is simply unforgettable in very bits of it. I love it, my friends love it, my family love it and I hope you will love it too.
Ingredients for Orange Candied Pecans with Cranberry
- Granulated White Sugar – helps sweetens the nuts and make it crunchy
- Brown Sugar – helps sweetens the nuts and make it crunchy
- Salt – addition of salt enhances the taste and balances the sweetness
- Black Pepper – just a tiny bit of a specs of heat, but really there’s not much. You can remove it if you find it odd
- Orange Zest – this is the main flavoring for nuts. The fresh Orange zest leaves a nice citrus flavor that is real
- Egg White – this acts as the binder and will help the coating dry up nicely
- raw whole
- Pecans – the main nuts ingredients. Alternatively, you can make a mix nuts by using 1 cup each of Pecan, Almond and Cashew
- Dried Cranberry – it has to be dried, fresh or frozen Cranberry will not dry up in the short baking time. Don’t worry, the Cranberry will not be too dry as it absorbs moisture from egg white and Orange zest. Baking it will actually help it expand and it will also absorb the Orange zest flavor.
How to Make Orange Candied Pecan with Dried Cranberry
The process of making Candied Nuts is not as complicated as it sounds. You don’t even need any special machine or tools to make this. The process is simple and the ingredients are easy to find. The best part of it, homemade are 100% better than store-bought and budget friendly too. Let’s see how to make this.
Whisk the Egg White
Whisk the egg white in a bowl, you can do this manually or with a hand mixer. You do not need to whisk it for a long time, so doing it manually is what I recommend and what I had been doing every time I made this. Important thing to remember, make sure the egg is in room temperature, do not use it straight from the refrigerator. Room temperature egg whisk better and will coat the nuts easier. That is the only thing you need to do for the egg white. You can interchange the order and make the sugar mixture first before whisking the egg white, the order does not really matter as long as you do them separately in a bowl.
Mix the Sugar and Flavoring
In a separate bowl, mix the sugars, salt, black pepper (if using), Orange zest and dried cranberry.
Egg White + Nuts
Now add the Pecan or any nuts you are using to the egg white. Mix until the nuts are coated with egg white
Coated Nuts + Sugar Mixture
Next mix the mixture of sugar to the coated nuts. Mix to coat the nuts with sugar
Spread in a baking sheet, no need to line with parchment paper. The direct contact of the. It’s to the pan will help it dry faster. Only thing to keep in mind is to use a large baking pan so all the nuts are touching the pan. If you do not have a big pan, do the baking in 2 batches.
To assure even baking and crunch, take the tray out of the even every 10 or 20 minutes and mix it. Then return to the oven and continue baking. Once done, remove from the oven and mix again. Leave in the tray to cool down.
Tips in 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 or remove the excess egg white.
- Mix after every 10 or 20 minutes: It my seem a lot of work to watch out every 10 or 20 minutes but it’s worth it. Mixing the pecans after every 10 or 20 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.
- 3 tablespoon Granulated Sugar (for sweeter taste, make it 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
- Zest of 2 Large Oranges
- 1 Egg White – room temperature
- 3 cups raw whole Pecans
- 1/2 cup Dried Cranberry
- Preheat the oven to 300F
- Mix the Sugars: In a large bowl, mix granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toss until evenly combined. Set aside
- Whisk Egg White: In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white 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. If you have excess egg white left, add a bit more Pecan.
- Sugar + Pecan: Add the pecan gradually 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. Pay attention if the coating is already dry then the pecans are ready, you don’t have to complete the 40 minutes. I used silicone mat as liner for this and 50 minutes works just right. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and sprinkle some black pepper too, about 1/8 teaspoon.
- Bake. Remove from the oven every 20 minutes and mix. This will ensure even baking. 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 the tray 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.
Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.
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