Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Caramelized Pecans

Almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts were always part of my diet while growing up, in both sweet and savory dishes. Pecans on the other hand were a late discovery for me. Ever since my first pecan, I fell in love with their flavor and texture. Nowadays, I go to sleep feeling better knowing that I have a batch of pecans resting in my fridge or cupboard!

Pecans were not always easy to get by in Madrid. but lately, thanks to more specialty shops opening around every corner, stacking up on pecans is no longer a tricky affair.

Being rich in fats, all nuts pair well with sugar. In Spain, caramelized nuts are a popular treat. During local festivities you are always guaranteed to be swept away by the indulgent and enticing aroma of caramelized nuts being freshly prepared in market squares and fairs across the country.

Though caramelized nuts are more popular during winter times, there's no reason not to prepare them at home any time of the year. That's why I decided to make a batch of caramelized pecans to nibble on to ward off hunger pangs or to sprinkle on cakes and more for that buttery sweet crunch they deliver.

To make a small batch of caramelized pecans, you need:
  • 110 lightly toasted pecans (put them in a preheated oven at 100 C just until fragrant)
  • 75 brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 25 g coconut oil (for a vegan option) or butter
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
In a saucepan combine all the ingredients but the cinnamon. Over a gentle flame, slowly mix everything until the sugar melts and coats all the pecans, once everything is combined add the cinnamon and mix again.

Quickly drop the pecan on a parchment paper and with a spatula try to separate each pecan and set aside to cool.

Once cooled down, put in a glass jar and store in a cool and dry place.

Caramelized pecans are a wonderful treat. Perfect as a light snack on their own, they can also be crushed and sprinkled over plain yogurt, or added to cakes, pancakes and muffins for added flavor and texture.


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