WTF candied pecans
November 22, 2018 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Keep f*ing up candied pecans... help me

Why does sugar fall off my candied pecans and won’t stick? Stovetop method. I end up with toasted pecans and a puddle of hard sugar.

I used
1c pecans
1tbsp butter
1/4c sugar
1/8c maple syrup

Pre-toast pecans
Remove from heat
Add butter and sugars
Add back pecans

This is the second time now I’ve fouled them up. I used to make them easy peasy.... wtf?
Please don’t suggest oven method.
posted by St. Peepsburg to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I've made them I've used some egg white to help bind it. I'm no expert, but many online recipes include them. (Bonus tip: try a bit of cayenne to make them exciting!)
posted by Nelson at 8:55 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah I do the same thing, whip up an egg white til it's soft and foamy and then mix all the other stuff Sticks better.
posted by jessamyn at 8:59 AM on November 22, 2018

Response by poster: Egg white even on the stovetop?
Previously my recipie worked fine, never used egg white before...
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2018

Best answer: Yeah, you need egg whites. Ditch the maple syrup and butter.
The recipe I use is:
Mix together your sugar and spices- I use like a quarter to a half cup of sugar, and some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
Lightly beat an egg white until it's nice and frothy. Gently stir in the pecans, maybe two cups? When they're coated, add the sugar and spice mixture, then spread out pour in some parchment paper in a pan and bake at 275 or 300 for twenty minutes or until they're smelling good and not sticky to the touch.
It's not super exact, but it works.
posted by Adridne at 9:02 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Shoot, just saw you didn't want oven method, sorry!
posted by Adridne at 9:03 AM on November 22, 2018

Best answer: What has changed? Are you using a different pot, or a different stove? Different measuring spoons?

If you are using a different pot what is the difference between the old and new? Have you had to change the method slightly for anything else that you cook in that pot? For example if you now leave your hard boiled eggs half a minute longer to get the yolks hard less heat is going through the bottom of the pot or more heat is escaping through the lid.

Judging from your description of sugar falling off the nuts and then going hard, I am gong to suggest that there is first too much liquid in the mixture and possibly too high a heat, and then that they are cooking too long so the sugar is overcooked. It may be that as maple sugar quality degrades the maple sugar you are using has a higher moisture content. it also might be that there is a tiny bit too much butter. You could try going with a darker syrup, or changing brands in case somewhere in the supply chain the syrup has been adulterated with HFCS.

Disclaimer: I have never made candied but now I really want to.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:08 AM on November 22, 2018

Best answer: When I candied nuts, I always cooked the syrup and then mixed in the nuts very quickly when it was done, spreading them on a greased pan to cool. Clumping is the challenge there, but I never had any issues with the coating falling off.
posted by Frowner at 9:37 AM on November 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, are you using a thermometer when you cook the syrup? Every time I try to eyeball it, it goes subtly wrong.
posted by Frowner at 9:38 AM on November 22, 2018

Has anything changed in any way about your pre-toasting method, or the amount of time/cooling that may occur before they're added back?
posted by tomboko at 9:57 AM on November 22, 2018

The coating falling off the nuts sounds a bit like it may have crystallized, and wasn't able to bond to the nuts.

Or...You're letting the nuts cool before adding them to the goo, right? If you're tossing them in warm, there will still be oils seeping from the nut, which could cause the coating to not stick.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:34 AM on November 22, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks everyone... it’s looking like too much liquid, gotta wait till the sugars melt and don’t pre-toast the pecans.
Also I’ll totally break down and try the oven method, it’s gettin too close to turkey time and can’t afford to be stubborn.

And if anyone wants a goo pile of slightly burnt but surprisingly still tasty pecans come on by!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:03 AM on November 22, 2018

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