We just love pecans in our house, and in fact have several very large, mature pecans trees in our yard, they just don't always produce anywhere near the amount of pecans I will use during baking season.
Typically a group of us get together in the fall, and work out a bulk buy with our local produce supplier, who can get us pecans machine cracked, or shelled pecans for a very reasonable cost. This year I bought 10 lbs. of machine cracked, that resulted in 2 gallon zip-top bags full for the freezer. He then messaged me he had some left he had shelled, so I bought another 5 lbs shelled. Needless to say, I now have plenty of pecans to last us a good long while ... but that's a good thing!
I love making candied pecans and having them at the holidays. They are perfect for snacking on, or holiday gift giving. While there are many recipes out there, this is my favorite for a cinnamon sugary crunchy pecan treat.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 egg whites
1 tbls water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
5 cups pecan halves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13 x 18-inch sheet pan (that has sides) with heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour on melted butter and spread out so that pan is evenly coated.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg whites and water until stiff peaks just start to form. Blend in sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Fold in pecan halves and spread mixture in a single layer onto prepared pan (it's going to look like a sticky, gooey mess - trust me, it'll all work out).
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, stirring and flipping pecans every 10 minutes (I use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula). Watch nuts very closely during the last 10 minutes of cooking time, removing them from oven sooner if they are getting too dark. Nuts are done when they are mostly dry and golden brown. The pecan and egg white mixture will be very wet and gooey at first. Do your best to flip the pecans and spread them back out into a single layer the first few times that you stir them. After the first couple of times, you'll see them start to come together and look more like the finished product.
Allow pecans to cool on pan until they are completely dry and crunchy, stirring occasionally to break them up. Store in an airtight container for two to three weeks.
Cooks note - Sugar burns quickly. Be sure to stir every 10 minutes and keep a close eye on them after 30 minutes.
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