Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nutrageous Gift Pack: Pecans and Peanuts

These two nuts are featured in the gift pack under the slow and low method.  The nuts were enrobed in a sugar mixture and left to bake in the oven, only stirring every 15 minutes, for about an hour.

Cinnamon Candied Pecans

Caramel Peanut Popcorn

I have made and featured caramel popcorn here before.  I used the same recipe, but added more peanuts, so there will literally be nuts in almost every bit.  I also reduced the amount of popcorn from the first time I made it to 6 quarts as I wanted to ensure a nice even coating on all pieces.

The popcorn was divine!  It was melt in your mouth buttery and delicious.  Out of all the desserts I made, this is the one I had to ensure all leftovers left the house because I could not keep from nibbling on it as I went buy.

At Christmas time, one of my officemates brought in cinnamon candied pecans.  They were delicious.  So delicious in fact, me and my mom where sharing a little bag full as a snack after church one day and got into a fight over the last one.  I asked my officemate for the recipe as I thought my nut loving friend would like it.

Me being the baker that I am, I rarely use a recipe without adapting it in some way.  So, with her recipe as a starting point I made some changes.  The results were absolutely phenomenal.  The pecans are sweet, but not too sweet and the cinnamon gives it just a touch of something extra.  The most important feature is the salt.  The little salty sweet taste came across my palate and I knew we had a winner here.  I asked my mom if there were any leftover she wanted, and these were her only request (not counting the walnut treat she consumed before there were leftovers.)

Cinnamon Candied Pecans

2 egg whites
1 TBS water
1 TBS vanilla
1 heaping cup sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
20 oz Pecans

Preheat oven to 225F.

1. Beat egg whites, water, and vanilla together until nice a frothy. About 2 minutes with a hand whisk.

2. Pour in the pecans and stir in with a rubber spatula.

3. In a separate boil mix the sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour sugar mixture over pecan mixture.

4. Stir all together until all pecans are nicely coated.

5. Spread the pecans in one even layer onto a well-buttered sheet pan.

6. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Any liquid you see while slowly dry up/dehydrate in the oven.

7. Pour pecans onto wax or parchment paper to cool completely. The pecans should be dry and crisp, with a visible sugar coating. If they are sticky, they did not spend enough time in the oven.

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