Skeet Shares
stuff I find interesting
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Spiced Pecans

Because Sassymonkey asked so sweetly, here's a holiday tradition that my son and I used to share. The original recipe is from The Karo Cookbook, which I bought back in the eighties. Opening it up is nostalgic because you can tell by the stains on the pages which ones we've loved the most. I've always used pecans for this, but I see now that the recipe is actually called "Spiced Sugared Nuts" and you can swap out your favorites.

Spiced Sugared Nuts

1 cup sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Karo light corn syrup
2 cups walnut or pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1-inch jelly roll pan. In heavy 2-quart saucepan stir together sugar, water, corn syrup, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a soft ball which flattens on removal from water. Remove from heat. Add nuts and vanilla. Stir until mixture begins to thicken and gets light in color. **Pour onto prepared pan. Working quickly with two forks separate nuts into individual pieces. Cool. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 1 pound.

*We always liked ours spicier still, so I use 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice.

**I skipped the pan, sanitized the kitchen counter, then greased it for the separating process, just like they do in a candy kitchen. Careful not to damage the counter with the fork tines!

Candied walnuts: Follow recipe for Spiced Sugared Nuts. Omit cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. Use 2 cups of walnut halves and 1 teaspoon rum extract with walnuts.

We used to make these every year. I say "we" because they're too hard to make alone. It took two of us, with two forks each, to separate the nuts quickly before they solidified into one big clump. Rumor has it that you can re-heat them when that happens, but I've never tried to make them alone, so I'm not sure. I'm considering tackling it as a solo project this year, so we'll see how it goes.

I love the old brand name cookbooks for really basic ingredients that can be used in a lot of ways. The Karo one is my alltime favorite, but I also have Bisquick and some others around here somewhere. Buried under the clutter, I'm sure.

The photo above is from this current eBay listing, so you might be able to get your very own Karo cook book if you hurry.

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Anonymous sassymonkey said...
Hmmm...since it's not much of a one-person job maybe I can interest the mommies in doing it. We have tentative plans to have a Christmas movie day and eat christmasy things. I'm sure that the wee one would be interested in watching us do it.

Blogger Allan said...
Don't you know that allspice is harvested and processed by barely paid Samoan children in sweatshop conditions and the mercury used in the extraction of vanilla is worse for our waterways than a million Exxon Valdez spills? A million, I say!

Sounds yummy though. I'd say it's worth the risk.

Blogger skeet said...
Mommies & the little one were what I was thinking for you, too.

Allen, almost hate mail, but not quite. Mahalo anyway & for the visit, too!

Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...
I see Karo syrup and I think about the peanut brittle my Mom makes every Christmas. Me, I barely cook.

Blogger skeet said...
Whimsical, I've made the brittle, too. I do cook, and rather well at that. I don't bother too often since I live alone now, but the holidays might be the right time to start up again. We'll see.

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