A spiced pecan is a baked snack made from raw pecans that have been coated with different combinations of spices, sugar, and sometimes various other seasonings such as cloves or cumin. Some recipes simply call for brushing the dry ingredients over some lightly buttered pecans. Others require these pecan snacks to be covered with a mixture of whipped egg whites along with the spiced flavorings of choice. The finished nuts can be either eaten alone or used in other dessert recipes such as spiced pecan cake, salad, or rice dishes.
A large number of spices can work well with pecans, and this factor leaves individual cooks some room for creativity. Some basic recipe versions can be made by spreading melted butter over pecans and then dusting them with light layers of pumpkin spice as well as nutmeg. Cinnamon can also be added if preferred. The normal time for baking with pecans is normally only five to six minutes at about 350° F (approximately 177° C); overcooking the nuts can often result in their becoming burned or too brittle.
Specialty spiced pecan recipes can often include stronger and more exotic flavorings such as chili powder, cayenne pepper, ground rosemary, and paprika. Cooks who prefer spiced pecan recipe versions with these types of spices often use unsalted butter for the best flavor clarity. The melted butter can also be mixed with a small amount of liquid hot sauce for some added heat, and brown sugar is usually mixed in with the dry spices if more than one or two of these strong flavors are included.
Some alternate instructions for cooking spiced pecan snacks can involve toasting them with the rest of their ingredients in a stove top skillet rather than baking them on a cookie sheet in an oven. Cooks who opt for this method usually recommend heating the pecans no higher than medium heat for a maximum of five minutes. The nuts also often need to be stirred at a steady pace in the skillet to avoid accidental scorching.
Spiced candied pecans make up a sweeter version of this snack that generally requires a couple of extra steps. The pecans are usually dipped in a mixture of beaten egg whites, spices, and a larger measure of sugar before baking or toasting. White sugar can be substituted for brown in this recipe to give the nuts a higher level of sweetness to balance the spices.