Sweet and Spicy Pecans for Gift Giving and Snacking


Here’s a great gift idea. These nuts are positively addictive and they come together in a snap. Package them up in pretty bags or jars and tie with a ribbon and you’ve got a homemade, meaningful, and eco-friendlier than most, gift. They’re great for snacking or for garnishing winter salads.

Makes 6 cups. Organic ingredients recommended.

6 tablespoons butter (plus more to butter baking sheets)
6 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2  teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cayenne
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 cups shelled pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the water, brown sugar, salt, ginger, cayenne, cardamom, and nutmeg. With a wooden spoon, stir just until the sugar dissolves. Add the nuts to the sugar mixture and cook, stirring, until the nuts are coated, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the buttered baking sheets, spreading the nuts out in a single layer and dividing them between the two sheets evenly. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and crisp. Let cool on the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Copyright 2008 Vanessa Barrington

Image: FotoosVanRobin’s

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.