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Sugared and Spiced Pecans


By Dotty Griffith from The Texas Holiday Cookbook

Pecans have a way of showing up in all sorts of recipes, from the beginning to the end of the meal. They’re quite simply Texans’ favorite nuts. They grow wonderfully well, particularly in the heart of the state. In exchange, Texans have taken them to heart. Here are sweet and savory versions.


Makes 4 cups

2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup boiling water
4 cups (1 pound) pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and boiling water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until boiling and boil until candy thermometer reaches 240° (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Allow to cool a few minutes. Add vanilla and stir until pecans are coated. Pour pecans onto waxed paper and separate.


Makes 4 cups

4 cups (1 pound) pecan halves
4 tablespoons butter
1–2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 200° F. Place pecans on a jelly roll pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Mix well and pour over pecans, stirring to coat all sides, and arrange in single layer in pan.

Place in oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until pecans become toasty and brown. Stir occasionally while cooking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt to taste, stirring to coat all sides. Cool completely and store in airtight container for giving. For storage longer than a couple of weeks, place in freezer containers and freeze.

Variation: For Salted Pecans, omit cayenne pepper.

Reprinted with permission from THE TEXAS HOLIDAY COOKBOOK – Second Edition ©2013 by Dotty Griffith, Taylor Trade Publishing, an imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. Photographs by Rick Turner.

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Dotty Griffith is the author of THE TEXAS HOLIDAY COOKBOOK - Second Edition ©2013, Taylor Trade Publishing.

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