sweet & savory roasted pecans

It’s so great to have a supply of homemade snacks stashed away for that moment.  When the mood hits.  I’ve been in search of a recipe for roasted pecans that can be tossed in salads, served with some cheese & fruit or just enjoyed all on their own.  I didn’t want them to be too sweet or to have a sticky coating.  Definitely not too spicy.

Turns out all I had to do was head on back to Ina Garten’s recipe for Rosemary Roasted Nuts. The original recipe is featured in Ina’s cookbook Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? Happens to be one of my favorite cookbooks.

It really is the perfect blend of sweetness and saltiness. And the roasted nuts end up with a very light glaze …not too heavy at all.  And it’s not as if I’m not familiar with those roasted nuts.  I’ve been making huge batches of them for years.  I gather them up in decorative glass jars and they become the best (always appreciated) holiday gifts.

So for this one, I just tweaked the ingredients and used only pecan halves. The rest of the recipe remains the same. Why mess with flavor and texture success, right?

To save some clean-up time and effort, the oil, maple syrup, brown sugar & orange juice can be tossed together with the pecans, right on the sheet pan. I prefer to mix it all in a large bowl before turning it out onto the pan. That way, I’m sure every pecan half is coated with every bit of possible deliciousness.

When the nuts are fully coated with the liquid ingredients, add two teaspoons of the salt along with two tablespoons of the minced fresh rosemary leaves. Once it is all combined, turn the nuts onto your prepared sheet pan. Do your best to spread them out evenly in a single layer.

Pop that tray in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. But don’t stray too far from the kitchen. The nuts need to be moved around twice during the roasting process. And it is very important that you use a metal spatula. The coating is very sticky while it is still very hot.

As the roasted pecans are cooling on the sheet pan, be sure to stir them often to prevent sticking. Once completely cooled, they will no longer be so sticky. At that point, they can be transferred to an airtight container to be stored at room temperature.

sweet & savory roasted pecans

Adapted from Ina Garten's Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts, featured in Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

Enjoy as an addition to your cheese tray, sprinkled over your next salad or straight from the jar.  

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for pan
  • 8 cups whole pecan halves (about 32 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, divided
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Place the pecan halves in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar and orange juice. Pour mixture over the pecan halves and stir to fully incorporate. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again to coat the nuts evenly. Turn onto the prepared sheet pan.

  3. Spread the pecans in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. 

  4. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

If you like your snacks to have that extra kick of spiciness, add up to 2 teaspoons of ground chipotle powder to the liquid ingredients before coating the nuts.  If you're not sure of how much to use, try adding the powder 1/2 teaspoon at a time taste-testing as you go.

sweet & savory roasted pecans

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