These candied pecans have a little spicy kick and can turn a dessert from ordinary to wow. They make a great topping for ice cream (even better with a little chocolate), my gluten-free sweet potato pumpkin pie, gluten-free spice cake. gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes, gluten-free crepes or bananas foster, one of my favorites.
Elevate any savory dish with these candied nuts as well. Put them in an arugula and pear salad or add to a vegetable dish like green beans or roasted brussels sprouts.
You can substitute any nut in place of the pecans. Almonds, cashews and walnuts are particularly good with this recipe. If you are nut-free, raw pumpkin seeds can be a good substitute.
I highly recommend using coconut palm sugar – it has a much more complex flavor and it’s unrefined. If you are not a fan of the flavor of coconut, don’t worry, it does not taste like coconut. Coconut sugar is made from the nectar of the flower on coconut trees not the actual coconut. It can be a bit pricey so feel free to use brown sugar as a good substitute. The molasses flavor from brown sugar is wonderful in these candied pecans
The spice mix of cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper gives these nut their kick and makes them such a perfect topping on sweet desserts and savory salads. Feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne pepper according to your preference for spicy heat. Spicely organics (gluten-free certified) is the best source for gluten-free spices.
Handling Hot Sugar
Please take great caution when cooking and handling the hot mixture. Hot melted sugar can burn skin very easily. So do not touch the the candied pecans until they are completely cooled. And be very careful when shaking the pan and transferring them out of the pan.
Candied Pecans (Spicy)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans walnuts, almonds are cashews also
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper more or less depending on your preference for heat
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 Tbsp coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
- 2 Tbsps maple syrup or agave
- Brush or spray a sheet of parchment or tin foil with oil.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over a medium-high flame for 2 minutes. Add the chopped nuts and toast them, tossing constantly for 2 minutes.
- Add the spices and toss for another minute. This toasting will help intensify the flavor of the nuts and spices.
- Add the sugar, maple syrup and salt and stir or gently shake the skillet to get the nuts coated. Cook, shaking the pan for another minute. Take great caution. – once the mixture gets hot it can burn skin easily – even a small drop of liquid sugar.
- Spread the nuts out on the parchment (or foil) and let cool. DO NOT touch until the nuts are completely cooled.
- Store in the freezer.