Spiced Candied Pecans

by Carol Peterman

I experimented with various sweet coatings and settled on maple syrup because it not only adds a nice flavor but it creates a crunchy rather than sticky coating. Using primarily whole spices and infusing the flavor makes for a clearer candy coating and a smoother flavor.

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 inch long cinnamon stick (cassia or true cinnamon)
2-3 mace blades or 4 whole cloves
24 allspice berries
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
16 black peppercorns, whole
2 dried spicy chiles such as de arbol, or pequin, or Japanese
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups Pecans (or other favorite nut), toasted

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all the spices, except the salt and paprika, in a mortar and pestle and crush them just enough to break them up into large pieces. You can also accomplish this by putting the spices in a plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin or mallet. 

Heat the oil in a small saute pan over low heat and add all of the spices except the salt. Simmer over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally than remove from the heat and let the spices infuse into the oil for 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, and salt. Over a low heat bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, let it boil for 5 minutes.

Pile the toasted nuts in the center of a rimmed baking sheet. Strain the spices out of the syrup and pour the syrup over the nuts. Toss to coat and spread the nuts out in a single layer. Place them in the oven and set a timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the nuts and stir to re-coat with syrup. Repeat the 3 minute baking/stirring cycle three more times so they bake for a total of 12 minutes.