Some recipes are complicated and involved, while others are easy and simple. And some become ingrained into your life and stop being recipes. They become part of your repertoire, part of your kitchen story. Everyone has their own kitchen story. It could be densely written, full of chapters and footnotes. Or it could be sparse with only a few pages. Those kitchen stories usually stem from our childhood, our memories.
To me, cooking and memories are so intertwined that sometimes I don’t know if I cook because of my memories or to make more of them. I cook certain foods to honour my heritage, I cook others to commemorate recent events. Food isn’t just sustenance for me, or at least not just physical nourishment, it’s a glue that binds days and weeks and life together.
I don’t remember the first time I made these Spiced Caramelized Pecans, but they became a part of my kitchen story. So integrated into my cooking routine that I don’t remember not making them. And yet, I’ve never truly written down the recipe. It’s one of those five minute wonders that leaves your guests feeling amazed and asking for more. I usually add them to salads: greens, crumbled blue cheese, diced pear, spiced caramelized pecans. But I love just having a bowl of these crunchy spicy-sweet morsels to snack with a glass of wine or beer. These nuts also look gorgeous on a cheese platter – just add a jar of jam and a few crackers.
Spiced Caramelized Pecans
Butter, vegan or regular – 2 tablespoons
Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
Salt – a pinch
Cayenne pepper – 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon
Pecan halves – 2 cups
- In a small pot, on medium heat, melt the butter, add sugar, a pinch of salt and cayenne pepper. Depending on how spicy you want the pecans to be add between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne.
- Mix everything until light caramel forms.
- Add pecans and mix well so that caramel coats all the nuts.
- Keep cooking for another 2-3 minutes, constantly mixing with a spoon so that caramel doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer pecans to a bowl and cool before eating since caramel will burn you otherwise.
- They will last up to a week in an airtight container or more in the fridge.