Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Caramelized Pecans (or An Addition to a Cheese Board)

This was something put together on Thanksgiving from what I found available to go with the aperitif.
Since everything worked out fairly well I had to write it down. I guess posting is my way of making sure I don't misplace it.

Relatively simple, somewhat festive, a little sweet and a little savory, caramelized pecans make a nice addition to a cheese board.
Perhaps slightly addictive?
A fortunate thing that the recipe makes a limited amount?

I like cheese boards with a little variety (taste, texture, color...).
Said cheese boards might include dried fruit or fig jam/lingonberry jam/cranberry sauce, nuts, and crackers or thin slices of bread

Well, the pecans weren't such a bad addition.
And since they're easy and a crispy little step up from plainer toasted pecans, I could see myself doing this over and over- provided I had what's necessary on hand when the special occasion need arose.
But really, I think practically everyone could at least do a variation to serve in a pinch.

Either that, or this could potentially make a nice little homemade gift in a pretty jar.
(In case you're wondering, they didn't seem to stick together when stored- I suppose the bit of butter helps with that aspect.)

You could, of course, omit the rosemary completely OR dress them up a little differently.
Instead of rosemary, maybe a touch of cayenne for a kick, or a sprinkle of baking-type spices: cinnamon, a touch of cloves and allspice (and black pepper to add interest?). Perhaps stir some orange zest into the caramel just prior to the pecans, and add a handful of dried cranberries before removing the pecans to cool.

Caramelized Pecans
makes 2 to 2 1/4 cups

2 to 2 1/4 c (200-225 g) pecan halves
6 T (1/4 c plus 2 T, 90 g) granulated sugar
2 T (30 g) unsalted butter
1/2 T (2 g) minced fresh rosemary needles
1/2 t (3 g) kosher or fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F and place the pecans on a tray. Bake 8-12 minutes, or until lightly toasted and crisped, shaking the pan a couple times as they bake.
Remove the pecans from the oven and set aside.
In a medium saucepan or frying pan, heat the sugar over medium heat until it melts and takes on a nice shade of amber. Add the butter and stir through to combine.
Add the rosemary and salt, and stir to incorporate a bit and then add the pecans. Toss and stir until the pecans are coated.

Remove the caramel pecans to a piece of parchment paper to cool, spreading them out so they are separated. Sprinkle with extra salt if desired.
Let the nuts cool completely before serving or store in a covered container.

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