Taco Pecans

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Hello again, friends.  The school year has started back up and I am already plenty busy.  Thankfully I made many lovely things over my break–and documented them to share with you!  Last weekend, my parents hosted their annual Friends+Drinks appetizer party (and now being 21 I was happy to really take part). Being home as I still was, I wanted to make spiced nuts for the party.

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This past year I’ve become enamored with the idea of spiced nuts–sweet, slightly spicy, small enough to graze constantly, and simple enough to be a crowd-pleaser.  Last time I made these buggers, they were simply sugar and cinnamon.  This time, I wanted to explore the savory-sweet balance…

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It should be mentioned that these particular ones are not my favorite.  As a couple people at the party mentioned, they taste kind of like taco seasoning–thus I now call them Taco Pecans.  So, they were a little more on the savory side than the sweet side–the “balance” needs more work.  BUT, just because I didn’t achieve the balance I wanted doesn’t mean that people didn’t like them, so they’re still going up here!  They definitely got better the more they sat to let the flavors come together, too (a few days).  This recipe was adapted from the Saveur Spiced Pecans recipe.  They put two whole tablespoons of smoked paprika in theirs–and I thought mine were spicy!  I also increased the amount of sugar and “sweet spices” in the hopes it would be savory-sweet.  Alas, nothing can compete with smoked paprika, cayenne, and cumin.  Don’t shy away from these, though… As Alton Brown would say, they can still be good eats, as long as you know what to expect!

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Taco Pecans

Yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

6 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. granulated garlic

½ tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

10 grinds black pepper

1 beaten egg white

4 cups pecan halves

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the first ten ingredients (sugar and seasonings) in a bowl and mix until fully combined.  This should resemble damp sand in texture.

Beat the egg white in a medium-to-large bowl until slightly frothy–just enough that it has a liquid-like consistency instead of the original gel-like consistency.  Add the pecans and toss until the egg has coated them evenly.  To this, add the seasoning mixture and toss again to coat.

Spread into one even layer over two sheet pans lined with parchment paper.  As the Saveur recipe says, “bake until browned and crisp”–they suggest 25-30 minutes.  I say it may take even longer.

Let cool, gently break apart any that have stuck together, and store in an airtight container.  They should keep for quite a while.

Enjoy–possibly with a glass of milk!

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