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Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans {Recipe}

Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans recipe from Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving cookbook

Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans recipe - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

Chioptle Chile Candied Pecans

Author Diane Morgan on her Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans:

These candied pecans are flat-out decadent and irresistible. Sweet, spicy, with a hint of salt, these meringue-sugar-crusted pecans are divine eaten out of hand with a tumbler of bourbon or Scotch. However, a handful of these nuts tossed into a mesclun salad along with sweetened dried cranberries and crumbled blue cheese is the perfect starter to a holiday meal. This recipe can easily be doubled; use two baking sheets with a stick of butter melted on each, and whip the double batch of meringue in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.

Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Amy:

Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans recipe - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans. Photo credit: Amy Donovan

Lately I have been loving interesting flavor combinations and when I saw the chipotle chile candied pecans recipe, I knew I had to try it. The heat and smokiness of the chipotle chile powder plus the sweetness of the brown sugar, along with a dash of salt, seemed like such an intriguing flavor combination that I couldn’t pass it up.

I have already made a second batch of these – that’s how good they are! they would make a charming hostess gift, especially when made into an impromptu cheese kit with rustic rosemary-Parmesan crackers and some wonderful local cheeses.

The candied pecans recipe was surprisingly easy to put together, considering the complex flavors involved, and it went off without a hitch. One thing to note – if you don’t have a lot of experience with egg whites/making meringue, you might want to do a quick Google search to familiarize yourself with the ways to get the best meringue. other than that (which is easy to learn), the rest of the recipe is simple to follow.

Once the pecans were done and cooled, and I finally sampled them, I was in Heaven.  The flavors were everything I hoped they would be – a bit of heat, smoky, sweet, and salty, all at once.  The texture was also perfect – light, melt-in-your-mouth, with a bit of crunch and the color is lovely, a gorgeous golden brown.

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Chipotle Chile Candied Pecans

Yield: Makes 1 pound nuts, portioned into four (¼-pound) packages

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pound large or jumbo pecan halves

Implements

  • Large Rimmed Nonstick Baking Sheet, Measuring Cups and Spoons, Small Bowl, Stand Mixer with Whip Attachment or Hand Mixer, Rubber Spatula

Directions:

Recipe Card:

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1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet, preferably nonstick for easier cleanup.

2. Melt the butter on the baking sheet in the oven. Be careful not to let the butter brown. Set aside.

3. Combine the chile powder and brown sugar in a small bowl. Pour the vanilla over the brown sugar. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high speed to form a strong, shiny meringue. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the nuts until they are well coated.

5. Gently tip the rimmed baking sheet so the butter coats the bottom of the pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread the nuts over the butter, without stirring, to form an even layer without deflating the meringue.

6. Bake the nuts for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and stir the nuts with a spatula, moving the nuts at the center of the pan to the edges and the nuts at the edges closer to the center. Return the pan to the oven, bake the nuts for 15 minutes longer, and stir them again. Sprinkle the nuts with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.

7. Continue baking, stirring every 15 minutes, until the nuts are separated, have absorbed the butter and glisten, and are beautifully browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour longer.

8. Immediately turn the nuts out onto a counter lined with a long sheet of aluminum foil, spread them out, and let cool completely.

Chipotle Chile Candied Pecan, Dried Cranberry, and Crumbled Blue Cheese Salad:

Combine a handful of these candied pecans, along with ¼ cup of sweetened dried cranberries and ½ cup of crumbled blue cheese, with 8 cups of loosely packed mesclun greens. Toss with your favorite vinaigrette and serve. Add thin slices of crisp apples or ripe pears, if desired.

Storing:

Store in a tightly covered tin or covered glass container. The nuts will keep for up to 3 weeks.

Gift-Giving Tips:

Wrap the nuts in small attractive tins or laminated gift boxes lined with decorative waxed paper. To turn this into a gift basket, consider including a bottle of bourbon or Scotch - a perfect accompaniment! Alternatively, pack a gift basket or lovely salad bowl with the nuts, sweetened dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, and a recipe card for the salad below.

© 2010 Sur La Table, photography © Sara Remington

Reprinted with permission from Gifts Cooks Love: Recipes for Giving, by Sur La Table and Diane Morgan (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

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