Makes about 1¼ pounds
The classic pairing of sweet and salty makes these candied pecans pretty addictive, and the recipe works well with walnuts and cashews, too. You'll need a candy thermometer.
12 ounces raw whole pecans
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are light golden brown. Remove from the oven, transfer to a bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons of butter and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with greased aluminum foil or a nonstick liner. Set aside.
In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water, and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue to stir occasionally as the mixture heats up to 300 degrees, using a candy thermometer to monitor its temperature. The mixture will be a moderate tan color.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the vanilla and the roasted pecans, carefully mixing with a heat-proof spatula to coat the nuts. Transfer the coated nuts to the prepared baking sheet. Using two forks, gently separate the nuts while they are hot. Continue to separate with your fingers when cool enough to touch. Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Denise Drower Swidey is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.