show and tell: nana’s candied pecans

As you may recall, I have been on a baking kick lately. Not anything that involves pastry crust or anything exotic, just normal stuff like cookies and lemon bars. I’ve been cooking more too, when inspiration strikes. But baking brings out something deep inside — the urge to create and nurture and share. I enjoy the tactile sensation, the fragrant aromas, and of course savoring the tastes. It is a meditative act, yet it also fills the senses. At the heart, it is an expression of love, enjoyed in warm delicious comfort. 

Baking brings me closer to my beloved Nana, who has been gone more than ten years now. I may even channel her when I get into the ritual. As I’ve written before, some of my earliest memories are in the kitchen with Nana while she tinkered with recipes until they were truly her own. I inherited her love of food as well as her recipe tin, with its handwritten cards and notes in the margins. My treasure. 

Every once in a while, I break out the tin and see how Nana would have done it. Then, in both sacrilege and honor of her, I tinker with my own adjustments to make them truly my own…

Behold, Nana’s candied pecans, which I made this past week for K, her mom, and her baby’s father (and for us too, though a friend ate our whole jar)…

Nana-Luna’s Candied Pecans

Bake pecan halves (1 lb) on cookie sheets for about 25 minutes at 300 degrees. Let cool. 


Bowl 1: Mix 2 egg whites and 2 tablespoons of water until foamy.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Bowl 2: Mix 1 cup sugar (I split half brown sugar and half granulated sugar) with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon salt (optional: add cayenne) 

Fold pecans into bowl 1 and coat in wetness; then toss in bowl 2 and coat in sugar mixture.  Mmmm, sugar… 


Melt 1/4 cup of butter and grease baking sheet (or the lowfat folks could spray to grease, but it’s not as good, trust me).

Spread pecans out onto baking sheet (below are 2 pounds, by the way).  

Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, turning every 15 minutes (very important). Note: if your oven runs low, turn it up to 325. 


Share with love and enjoy!


For more circle time fun, check out the weekly thread, or see my previous entries. 

~ by luna on February 14, 2009.

26 Responses to “show and tell: nana’s candied pecans”

  1. Those look yummy. What does they cayenne pepper do?

  2. I don’t normally like pecans, but I think I could make an exception for these.

    Thanks for the step-by-step instructions and photos!

  3. They look and sound delicious. I love both the taste and the memories that go along with making my Grandma’s coffee cake.

  4. I’m drooling.

    I made lemon marmalade today, and thought of you.

  5. ‘Num! I will definitely add those to my holiday repertoire! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Looks yummy!

  7. Yum! And what a beautiful way to connect with Nana (notice that I have not used the prefix re- with connect). Enjoy your cooking!

  8. I’m salivating and I’m only on my morning coffee!!!

    Wow – I’ll try these for sure – and thanks for sharing a treasured reciepe.

  9. That looks really good. And not too hard to make. I love what you said about staying connected with your dear Nana as you make her recipies your own. Thanks for sharing the recipie with pics!

  10. Yummy, yum! I too like to cook to remember my Grammie.

  11. They look so pretty. What a great thing that you inherited that tin.

  12. If I could eat pecans, I would get so large on these.

  13. These sound so yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

  14. And I bet it’s fat free right?

  15. What a great thing for you to have of your Nana’s. Those look YUMMY!

  16. Now I have to go to the store…mmmmmmmmmmmm

  17. Those look SO good. Yummy.

  18. Our family makes these every Xmas, from a very, very similar recipe! They RULE.

    And they are very photogenic. 🙂

  19. *drool*

  20. Mmmm . . . I love candied pecans! Thanks for sharing the recipe and the yummy pictures!

  21. Your beloved Nana gave you such a gift. I wish I had a love for baking, but I only have a love for eating! Looks wonderful!

  22. Oooh, Luna! Thank you so much for this reminder about why I love baking so much, too. Especially the cookie/lemon bar type stuff. You’re getting me excited to break out my Kitchen-Aid again. And nanas… well, they totally rule!

  23. OMG that looks sooo good!

  24. Man, i too am not a pecan eater, but you know I may just try these, they look darn good! Very cool how you keep Nana’s tradtions alive. I miss my Gram too and every once in awhile i make something that she used to, I feel her around, it seems like that anyway. Great pics my friend.

  25. i just love candied pecans. love. love. love.
    i will try this recipe.
    thanks for sharing.

  26. […] in the best way we know as I bake my birthday cake. Rooting me in ritual and bathing me in memory, baking connects me to my Nana like nothing else. Plus it would have been cool to share that with my mom. […]

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