Discover how to caramelize pecans with our easy recipe. Elevate your snacks and desserts with these sweet and crunchy treats.
These delectable caramelized pecans are the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy, making them a versatile addition to everything from salads to desserts.
Caramelized pecans are more than just a snack – they’re a versatile, must-have ingredient. They’re the perfect topping to sprinkle over salads for a gourmet touch, add them to oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast indulgence, or incorporate them into desserts for an elegant crunch.
One of the joys of crafting caramelized pecans is the ability to customize them to your taste. Enhance the depth of flavor by adding a pinch of sea salt or a dash of cinnamon. Experiment with different types of sugars to achieve your preferred level of sweetness.
Caramelized pecans are a versatile treat that can be enjoyed throughout the year. They shine particularly during the holiday season, adding elegance to festive gatherings and desserts. Caramelized nuts make great last-minute gifts and can be enjoyed as a delightful snack or incorporated into various baked goods.
How to Use Caramelized Pecans
Caramelized pecans are a great snack all on their own, but here are some creative ways to use them:
- Use caramelized pecans as a salad topper for a delightful crunch and touch of sweetness. They add depth to green salads, fruit salads, or even grain-based salads.
- Incorporate caramelized pecans into your favorite desserts, especially holiday recipes. They make a fantastic topping for ice cream, yogurt parfaits, and sundaes. You can also fold them into brownie or cookie batter for added texture and flavor.
- Upgrade your breakfast by adding caramelized pecans to oatmeal, cereal, or granola. They provide a satisfying crunch and elevate the overall taste.
- This sweet snack is one of our favorite recipes to add to a cheese boards to balance out flavors. They pair exceptionally well with various types of cheeses, offering a sweet and nutty contrast.
- Decorate cakes, cupcakes, and pies with pecan halves for a visually appealing and flavorful touch.
- Incorporate toasty pecans into side dishes like roasted vegetables or sautéed greens. Their sweetness and crunchiness add a delightful element to savory dishes.
- Create a custom trail mix by combining caramelized pecans with dried fruits, other nuts, and perhaps a touch of dark chocolate for a balanced and satisfying snack.
- Make a big batch and then package crunchy pecans in decorative jars, bags, or containers as Christmas gifts. You can add festive ribbons or labels for a personal touch.
How to Make Caramelized Pecans
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a full, printable recipe!
- 1 egg white
- cream of tartar
- vanilla extract
- fresh pecans
- brown sugar
- half cup sugar
- teaspoon ground cinnamon
- teaspoon salt
- a cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 300F
Line a prepared baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, you may want to apply a light spray of cooking oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg white and cream of tartar until light and frothy, about 4 minutes.
Beat in the teaspoon of vanilla until just combined.
Fold the pecans into the egg white mixture, coating completely.
In a small separate bowl, combine the sugars and salt to make the sugary coating.
Stir the cinnamon sugar mixture into the pecan mixture until completely combined.
Fold the coated pecans onto your prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Bake until the pecan coating turns into a crunchy coating. The sugar crystals will be a bit sticky, but the stickiness will go away as they cool at room temperature.
Allow your final product to cool on the baking sheet fully before breaking up and storing or serving.
Store the candied nuts in an airtight container like a mason jar. Adding a small piece of parchment paper between layers can help prevent them from sticking together.
Flavor Combinations for Easy Candied Pecans
- Sprinkle a touch of sea salt over the delicious pecans for a sweet and salty treat.
- Add warmth and depth by tossing caramelized pecans with spices like pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice to amplify the cozy flavors of the caramelized coating.
- Try adding a hint of orange or lemon zest to the caramelized pecans for a refreshing twist.
- Indulge your sweet tooth by drizzling melted chocolate over the caramelized pecans. The combination of caramel, nuts, and chocolate is simply irresistible.
- Create a savory-sweet blend by mixing caramelized pecans with a drizzle of honey and a touch of fresh rosemary. This combination is perfect for cheese platters.
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If your candied nuts have turned out sticky, don’t worry. Here’s what you can do:
Spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a cooling rack. This will allow air to circulate around the nuts and help them cool down while preventing them from sticking together.
Ensure that the candied nuts have cooled completely before attempting to separate them. Rushing this process can cause them to stick even more.
Once the nuts have cooled, use your fingers or a spatula to gently break apart any clusters or individual nuts that are stuck together. Be patient and gentle to avoid damaging the nuts.
If the nuts are still slightly sticky after cooling, you can dust them with a thin layer of powdered sugar, cornstarch, or cocoa powder. This will help absorb excess moisture and reduce stickiness.
If your candied nuts are excessively sticky, you can try reheating them in the oven for a short time. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at a low temperature (around 250°F for 5-10 minutes. This can help evaporate any residual moisture that’s causing stickiness. Be careful not to overheat and burn them.
Candied pecans are made by coating pecans with a crystallized sugar mixture, resulting in a crunchy texture with a sweet flavor. Praline pecans, on the other hand, involve a combination of pecans, butter, sugar, and cream, creating a softer, creamy texture with a rich, caramelized flavor. The choice between the two depends on your preference for texture and taste.
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 3 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 300F
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, you may want to apply a light spray of cooking oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat the egg white and cream of tartar until light and frothy, about 4 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla until just combined.
- Fold the pecans into the egg white mixture, coating completely.
- In a small separate bowl, combine the sugars and salt.
- Stir the sugar mixture into the pecan mixture until completely combined.
- Fold the coated pecans onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Bake until the pecan coating is as crunchy as you desire - they will be a bit sticky, but the stickiness will go away as they cool at room temperature.
- Allow your Caramelized Pecans to cool on the baking sheet fully before breaking up and storing or serving.
Use a Different Flavor Combination to Make This Delicious Recipe for Candied Nuts!
There is an assortment of sugars, salts, spices and herbs to choose from when making candied nuts recipes like this one! You can try out different combinations or simply stick with the classic sugar-salt combo. Whichever way works best for you get ready to enjoy some deliciousness in no time at all! Some favorites include:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
a pinch of Cayenne Pepper
How to Store Your Pecans
Store your caramelized pecans in an airtight container ( such as a mason jar or a covered container). Keep them at room temperature and they are best within a week, but will keep up to three months if stored properly.