If, like me, you made these Caramel Pecan Clusters the other day, you likely ran out of caramel candies long before you ran out of pecans with which to cluster them. What to do, what to do… Certainly I can’t eat 2 pounds of pecans all by myself, so I really needed a recipe that would help me create another edible treat I could give away to friends and family. A quick spin through some of my favorite blogs led me to this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I pretty much stuck to her recipe (which was adapted from another recipe). But if you talk to Deb, please let her know that I am changing the name of these nuts from “Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts” to “Impossible-to-eat-just-one Candied Nuts.”
Seriously. Support groups need to be started, like, now.
Though the recipe can be made with things you already have lying around (e.g., egg white, cinnamon, salt, sugar, brown sugar), she also calls for hot smoked paprika. If, like me, you are fresh out of the hot smoked variety, you should know that I substituted 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/8 teaspoon regular paprika with incredible success.
As they cooled, the pecans I managed not to eat made it into clear plastic bags to be inserted in my handcrafted paper gift bags (refresher here). But I do like the idea of including in the gift bag a small decorative bowl from which the recipient might serve the nuts.
Though these are great for snacking on by themselves, these pecans would also be great in a salad (my dad’s favorite). Or try tossing them into some cooked brown rice to add a sweet kick of flavor and some crunch. Or serve them over ice cream (or chop them and throw them into your ice cream maker for instant praline ice cream). Or serve them over yogurt, granola, or oatmeal for breakfast. Heck, you might even include a little notecard with all the possible things the gift recipient might do with these sweet and salty crunchy confections.
And I think that’s one of the beautiful things about gifting homemade candied pecans– they have so many uses that any gift recipient (provided s/he is not allergic to nuts) can find at least one way to enjoy them. But I’m warning you, whether you make these for yourself or for someone else, it’s nearly impossible to eat just one. Resistance is futile. So go ahead–go nuts!