A candied pecan is a type of sweet dessert ingredient consisting of sugar-coated pecans. After being coated in a sugar mixture, the pecans are baked until golden. Easily homemade, candies pecans can be eaten as a snack food or, more often, used in desserts as toppings and garnishes for cakes or ice cream.
Although white sugar is most often used in candied pecan recipes, brown sugar may be used instead. Egg whites, salt, and pecans are also staples. Cinnamon is frequently added, and nutmeg or vanilla is sometimes included as well. Occasionally, spicier versions will also add black pepper and cayenne pepper.
Despite the fact candied pecans contain simple, generally consistent ingredients, there is considerable variation in the preparation of these sweet nuts. The pecans may be left whole or may be halved or chopped into pieces. The egg whites may be either mixed with water to create a foamy liquid or they may be beaten until stiff. Usually the spices and sugar are stirred into the foamy or stiff whites, but the dry ingredients might be mixed together in a separate bowl instead and never combined with the egg.
If all the dry ingredients are mixed with the eggs, the pecans are simply stirred into the mixture to coat. On the other hand, if the dry ingredients are separated, the pecans are coated first in the egg whites, then tossed in the dry mixture. Once the pecans are coated, they are spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish that has been coated in non-stick cooking spray. Depending on the candied pecan recipe, the cooking time may be as brief as 15 minutes or as long as an hour. Oven temperatures also vary considerably across recipes, from 250 to 325°F; (121-163 °C;).
Alternatively, corn syrup, in conjunction with the sugar and spices, may be used instead of eggs. The ingredients are combined and then the pecans are coated in the mixture. In this version, the candied nuts are only baked five minutes before they are stirred, ensuring they are thoroughly coated with the mixture. Then, they are returned to the oven to finish baking.
Although candied pecans can be eaten by themselves, they are most often used to top other dishes. Sweet desserts, such as ice cream and cheesecake, often benefit from a candied pecan topping. The nuts are also popularly used on salads.