Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble It Up : Candied Pecans & Dried Cranberries

An uber quick post as the boyfriend and I are frantically packing overnight bags, and gingerly placing stuffing, creme brulee, roasted squash, and my homemade green bean casserole in to-go bags. We've only got about half an hour before we're headed out to my mothers, boyfriends sister & food in tow for a long, lazy, thanksgiving night. Hard to believe some of you are already sitting down to eat! 

We're not your typical family when it comes to Thanksgiving. We usually eat dinner around 7 or 8. You see, we feel that any holiday, or mid week day off, should be taken full advantage of. That's why we take the afternoon to sit in front of the fire, play gin rummy, sip wine (glass, after glass of wine), maybe taking a few minutes to flip through a magazine or two. Eventually, we boot ourselves up and take all five dogs (theirs and ours) out for a long romp through the massive 20 acres of greenspace situated just beyond the 5 acres my mother owns. Then we come back inside, and repeat the sitting in front of the fire ritual quite a while longer. That's where a treat like these simple and delicious candied pecans come in oh-so handy. Regardless of the fact we're about to eat a massive meal, we still need something to nosh & nibble on while we lounge around.

This recipe was introduced to me by my dear friend Reaux. A true kitchen wizard. I'm posting them on Thanksgiving because they're that simple. A three (okay, maybe four or five if you count the seasonings) ingredient recipe that boasts a list of things you probably already have in your pantry. It all cooks up in under a half an hour in the oven, and viola! Insta-amazing-snack. Absolutely delicious with a glass of wine, and a warm fireplace. The nuts dry out a bit, making them extra crunchy and crisp, while the sugar coating dresses each nut with the flavor and texture of toffee. I like to toss mine with a handful of dried cranberries and/or cherries (making the mix look quite festive). So, if you don't already have enough on your plate, or your table, consider this delicious little snack. Absolute perfection for a relaxing afternoon such as this one.

Reaux's Candied Pecans
(enough for 6-8 to snack on)

2 cups pecans 
(I'm sure you could use any nut really, pistachios would be delish)
4 Tablespoons dark corn syrup
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
healthy pinch of sea salt
healthy pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup dried cherries/cranberries to toss


Preheat the oven to 325 F and place parchment paper or silicon baking mat on rimmed baking sheet

1. In a small to medium bowl, cover pecans with water and swish around. Drain well, place nuts on a paper towel to dry.
2. In a small to medium bowl add your nuts, then toss well with corn syrup and sugar. Season with salt and cayenne.
3. Pour mixture, in one even layer, on prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. 
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally (to keep the nuts coated in sugar mixture)
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
6. Break apart stuck together bits with your hands, put in a bowl and toss with dried fruit.

Viola, a simple, tasty little treat!

(can I just say: after a week of snow and ice, we woke up this morning to yet another snow storm! what in the world is going on here in the northwest? so unlike our little corner of the world! truly magical nonetheless)


RamblingTart said...

What a lovely tradition to go out rambling together. LOVE that. :-) These nuts look so good. I just happen to have a handful of dried cherries leftover, and will love to try them in this scrumptious dish. :-)

Anonymous said...

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Lena said...

Thanks for this post. Have a happy holiday season!