Saturday, October 16, 2010

Padma Lakshmi's Spiced Candied Pecans

There is a dog I know. A beautiful golden retriever who will stop traffic as she lays flat on the sidewalk in submissive longing for a belly rub or a sniff. Hearts soften, small yappy dogs grow quiet and entranced children gently stroke her silky coat until I grow impatient and tug her to her feet.

But this dog also has an insatiable appetite. Food: her reason to live. She has eaten my entire sandwich, dragged leftovers from the garbage, pulled cookies off the counter, and stared me down at every meal. And once we engaged in an epic and rather loud struggle over a giant, rotten chicken bone as I knealed on the filthy curb, my fingers slick with dog slobber, trying to pry chicken bits from her clenched teeth. Oh yes, people stopped and stared. Even the jaws of life would have been useless, Maggie was victorious from the start, and all I could do was sigh as she swallowed a huge mouthful of gristle and bone, completely oblivious to what I knew would be a rough morning for her the next day. She was immensely pleased.

These spiced maple pecans are like Maggie's chicken bones to me. I will eat them until I get sick and just try to pry them from my fingers. Make them but don't tell anyone, or if you do, make double. Slice a good apple, pour some good whiskey and If you have a dog, you'll definitely want to tie them up.

Spiced Candied Pecans from Padma Lakshmi's Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet

One cup whole pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup (I like grade A dark amber)
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Preheat the oven to 375 (a toaster oven works great). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Try to keep the individual nuts from touching each other. In a small bowl whisk the chili powder and maple syrup together with a fork. Now drizzle the syrup over the pecans. Try to coat the nuts completely by sliding them around on the baking sheet so all the syrup is used. Place in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the syrup has just begun to brown or blacken; don't let the nuts burn. Remove and immediately arrange the pecans on a dish, making sure they do not touch one another; if you leave them in a pile they will cool into a brittle.

I just mix the pecans, syrup and cayenne in a bowl and turn out onto the baking sheet, and I cool the nuts on a Silpat by an open window. 


  1. Done, I'm making some immediately!! Ps: we need a coffee date!

  2. Theses are indeed delicious. I increased the recipe and STILL ate them all. I didn't leave them in the oven quite long enough though, so the maple syrup just kind of turned granular. A couple more minutes in my toaster oven would have done the trick.