Scents of turkey, cranberry sauce, and your mama’s dressing filling the air can bring scavengers to the kitchen. The blur of chopping, whisking, spooning, and tasting gets me pretty full while I’m making a big holiday meal, but while I’m in the kitchen, everyone else is out there starving.
I love setting out some easy, snacky things to keep everyone out from underfoot. These Spiced & Candied Pecans fit the bill! Crunchy and sweet, these nuts are a crowd pleaser!
Tips for Making Spiced & Candied Pecans
These are a simple snack to make. Basically, you just make a simple syrup with brown sugar and water, then spice it up before coating the nuts.
The main tip is to be careful! Simple syrup will be very hot, so use caution when stirring it on the stove and spreading the pecans on the baking sheet.
I have an option here for a homemade spice blend or a store-bought blend. Both are great – it really depends on what you have on hand and how much time you want to spend.
How to Use Spiced & Candied Pecans
These are such a versatile little recipe!
My kids love them as an on-the-go snack. They are relatively clean in the car, store well in bags or snack containers, and add some variety to the typical snack.
Chop these up and sprinkle them over salads! Spiced & Candied Pecans would be awesome with a balsamic vinaigrette over spinach or mixed with goat cheese and cranberries over arugula.
Holidays mean hungry guests, and these are a fantastic snack to have out on the table! My family asks for these every Christmas to munch on while we’re preparing the main holiday meal. Because I can make these ahead and store them for so long, I’m always happy to oblige!
These also make a great food gift! You can easily ship these because they can last for so long and can be a little broken up without sacrificing flavor. They would go well with Cranberry Pecan Biscotti or Orange Cranberry Cornbread Cookies as a sweet little holiday gift box, too!
Make-Ahead and Store Spiced & Candied Pecans
These are great for making well in advance and storing.
You can store Spiced & Candied Pecans for one week at room temperature. Put them in an airtight container and store in the pantry. They can be stored for months in the freezer, though!
Spiced & Candied Pecans
- 1 pound raw unsalted pecans, whole and shelled
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Spice Blend – Easy Version
- 1.5 tablespoons pumpkin spice blend
Spice Blend – Homemade Version
- 10 allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 star anise flowers
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
To Make the Homemade Spice Blend
- You can either make a spice blend or use pumpkin spice. The homemade spice blend will be more pungent and spicier, and the store bought version will be more mellow and mild. If you are using the homemade version, follow these directions. If you are using the store bought version, skip down to Making the Pecans.
- Add the cloves, star anise, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a spice grinder.
- Pulse until all spices are completely ground to a powder.
To Make the Pecans
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the brown sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stirring often, bring this mixture to just under a boil. Be careful because it will be very hot.
- Add the spice blend and salt, mixing completely.
- Add the pecans to the saucepan. Stir to thoroughly coat them in the mixture.
- Stirring often, cook the pecans and syrup over medium heat for about 10 minutes. If the syrup starts to boil, turn the heat down.
- After 10 minutes, they should be a bright, glossy pine color. Remove them from the heat.
- Spread the pecans out in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 275 degrees for about 45 minutes.
- Remove and cool completely before breaking up and storing.