Many recipes call for candied pecans, and they’re great thrown in salads or eaten by themselves as a sweet treat. You can buy candied pecans, but they can be expensive — much more expensive than buying plain pecans. The good news is that they're easy to make and the ingredients for the recipe are inexpensive. You get the added bonus of making your house smell heavenly while they’re in the oven. Here’s how to make them.

Prep time: 5 minutes  

Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes  

Yield: 4 cups

Candied Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar (you can do 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – use this if you want the pecans to have a little kick)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 pound unsalted pecan halves
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the egg white and water together well, until they very frothy.
  4. Combine the sugar, salt and spices in a separate, small bowl.
  5. Toss the pecans in the egg white mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the pecans and toss to coat evenly.
  7. Spread out in a single layer on the parchment paper.
  8. Bake for one hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes, making sure the pecans stay in a single layer.
  9. Allow to cool completely before storing them in air-tight containers.

About storing candied pecans

It’s important to cool the candied pecans completely before you store them in a container with a lid. If you don’t, as the heat is released from the pecans it will end up creating steam in the container and making the nuts soggy. Once they’re cool, you can store them in the pantry, in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

Room temperature: Put them in airtight glass or plastic containers and store for a week.

Refrigerator: Put them in airtight glass or plastic containers and store for four weeks.

Freezer: Put them in airtight, freezer-stable, glass or plastic containers. If there is any room at the top of the container, place a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper over them (a recycled cereal box liner would work), to keep air from touching them. Freeze for two months for best quality. After two months, they will still be safe to eat, but they may decline in quality.

Related on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.