WRITTEN ON December 23rd, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Holiday, Nuts

My friend and former roommate (read: good sport and patient onlooker for many kitchen misadventures) asked me if “Dot” had any recipes for candied pecans.  I’m fairly sure this was Dot’s recipe at one point, though I got it by raiding my mother, Janet’s, recipe box. 

I remember these scattered around coffee tables throughout the holidays, along with salty buttered almonds (similar to Marcona almonds, which cost $10.99 for a quarter pound) in cut crystal dishes that would cripple a man if dropped on his toe. They were just one in a plethora of sweet treats that were available to us over the holidays. 

What I don’t say enough on this blog is that my mother was as big a kitchen influence on me as my grandmother.  Mom worked full time as an art teacher at my school, coached multiple hockey and lacrosse teams after school and still managed to come home every night and make dinner.  And I’m not talking about Hamburger Helper or casseroles whose main ingredient is a can of soup. These were fresh, healthy, well balanced meals which frequently began with a salad (classic iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes and carrots, with homemade Italian vinaigrette). Ok, ok, there were a few nights when, post lacrosse practice, she’d guiltily steer the car into the McDonalds drive through and my brother and I would exchange covert high five’s in the back seat. But by and large, Mom was there, at home, with dinner ready despite her very full day at work.  Many of my friends envied me.  They went home to TV dinners or chicken salad sandwiches from the local gourmet shop.

The hubster and I arrived home last night after a very long couple of days in NYC.  We were, in every sense of the word, a day late and a dollar short. Pulling into the driveway in suburban Baltimore, which is blanketed in 2 feet of snow, I felt glad to be coming home to what I knew would be a kitchen full of the same holiday treats I remember in my grandmother’s house all those years ago.

So, Keelin, here it is.  A recipe for the most dynamite, old-school, crispy coated candied pecans you’ll ever have. Mom’s at her exercise class, so I’m pilfering her recipe box without permission.  Whatever.  At least I’m not ransacking her closet, peeking at Christmas presents. My how I’ve grown…

Nice nuts

Nice nuts

Sugar Coated Pecans

1 lb pecans, shelled and whole

2 egg whites

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp salt

¼ cup brown sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250. Whip egg whites, pour in a large ziplock bag along with pecans.  Shake pecans in bag.  In another ziplock bag, place sugars, cinnamon and salt and shake to combine. Add egg coated pecans to sugar mixture, shake to coat.  Place on a non-stick baking sheet, bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  

 

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