For several years I have eyed the recipe for Spiced Pecans in Frank Stitt's Southern Table. I was sure they would be good...I just never got around to making them. Then, last week I prepared a salad (inspired by one in the same book) for a private dinner client. Since the original salad called for his spiced pecans, I made them. As I expected they were quite tasty. So much so that within a few days I made them again to serve as a pre-dinner nibble at another event. Sharing the recipe here seemed to me to be the obvious next thing to do.
I have altered the recipe only slightly. I have a sincere respect for Chef Stitt and his food...I simply wanted a bit more sugar on my pecans. The additional sugar melts into a barely perceptible glaze on the surface of the pecans and at the same time seems to heighten all of the other flavors...giving them a truly "must have one more" quality. For that reason alone, they are probably not the best choice to make if you just want to have something on hand for the occasional snack. Once you taste them, I don't think you'll have them on hand for very long.
5 cups pecan halves
2 to 3 T. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 scant t. kosher salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper..or more, to taste
2 to 3 t. minced fresh rosemary
1 T. melted butter
2 T. olive oil
Heat oven to 350°. Place the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheets. Toast until the nuts are fragrant, about 10 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and rosemary in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine the butter and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the warm nuts and toss to coat. Add the sugar mixture and toss together until well-combined. Taste, adding more sugar, salt or cayenne to taste. Return the seasoned nuts to the baking pan and return to the oven for another 3 minutes or so...until the nuts are hot and fragrant. Remove and set aside until cool.
The pecans may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.
(Recipe adapted from Frank Stitt's Southern Table)
Notes: I make these nuts with a full 3 T. of brown sugar and 3 t. (or 1 T.) of minced rosemary. The original recipe started with 4 c. of pecans and for that quantity used 1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 heaped Tablespoon of rosemary. Obviously you should adjust to your taste. Simply taste the nuts before they go into the oven for the second time, adjusting the quantities of seasoning and spices to suit your liking.