I can barely keep a pecan in this house, the minute anyone in my family smells that I have brought home pecans they go after it with their built-in pecan detectors. However, if I announce that I am making these spiced vanilla pecans they actually manage to restrain themselves, but barely, until the pecans are ready, and then they fall upon them like a pack of dogs. These are great for parties, although no matter how much you make they will never be enough. You should start making them the day before you plan to serve them. Prep time includes wait time.
- 1 lb pecan halves
- 6 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup superfine sugar (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons sweet butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup (light preferably)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (splurge on the real stuff)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I use my Microplane Zester)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1⁄8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Note: If you don't have superfine sugar (in Britspeak: caster sugar) then you can whirl regular granulated sugar in the food processor for about 5 minutes.
- You can skip this and just use granulated sugar, but please make sure it dissolves completely before leaving the pecans to sit.
- In a large pot, boil the pecans in the water for 1 minute.
- Drain well.
- While they're still hot, toss them in a large bowl with the sugar, melted butter, corn syrup and vanilla extract.
- Mix well and let the nuts sit, covered, for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven the 325 degrees F.
- Put the nuts on a cookie sheet (make sure it's rimmed so the nuts don't fall off).
- Bake the nuts for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- The nuts should brown nicely.
- I know, they are brown already, what I mean is that they should be a little darker, and crisp looking.
- However, they won't actually get crisp until they cool.
- Meanwhile, combine all the spices in a large bowl.
- The minute, the actual instant that the nuts are done, add them to the spices and toss them until they are well covered.
- Pat the nuts back down on the cookie sheet in a single layer, so they can cool without clumping together.
- Cool thoroughly, and store in an airtight container.