I have always loved candied nuts, and now that halloween is approaching and I need some tasty snacks readily available for the trick or treaters. I have seen a lot of recipes for candied nuts that uses either maple syrup or honey, which is not a healthy form of sugar (or even vegan), so I used dates as my all-natural sweetener (inspired by my Marinated Portobello Mushroom with Caramelized Walnuts recipe). That makes this recipe to be completely without any sugar, artificial sweetener or syrup, and trust me when I say that the kids will not even notice the lack of sugar. If you do not have pecans you can probably make this using for example hazelnuts, almonds or cashews, but so far I have only done pecans. In some ways this recipe reminds me a lot of my recipes for granola that I have previously posted, granted this is much (much) sweeter.
When making these your entire house will smell like delicious cinnamon baked pecans, which in my opinion is the perfect scent for fall… Can you say YUM?
Ingredients, makes 4 snack-sized portions:
- 3 cups raw pecan halves
- 2 cups dates + 1 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- maldon salt
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celcius/300 degrees Fahrenheit. Process the all ingredients except for the salt and pecans in a food processor until completely smooth. In a bowl, stir together the blended dates and pecans before spreading it over a baking sheet and drizzle on top a few pinches of maldon salt.
- Place the tray into the preheated oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (they are done when they are dark golden brown but NOT burnt), and stir every 15 minutes to avoid burning. When they are a deep brown color, turn the oven off and let it stay for an additional 15 minutes. The second you turn off the oven they will maybe seem like they are a bit soft but this is how it should be. Whatever you do, do NOT let them stay in the oven until they are crispy as they will most lightly just burn. After they have stayed in the turned off oven for 15 minutes take them out, and allow to cool completely before eating (that is when they really firm up and become crispy yet a bit chewy at the same time). Store these in either a jar or an airtight container at room temperature, and it will hold nicely for 1-2 weeks.
All in all this is not only incredibly delicious, but requires next to no time to make since the majority of the work happens while in the oven. If you use the fan setting on the oven you can easily triple this recipe (using three baking sheets of course) and placing them at different shelves in the oven. Then you can add them into small see-through plastic bags, tie the top with a orange and black ribbon and you have the perfect little snack to hand out to the kids. Another all-time favorite is of course the Chocolate Truffles recipe I uploaded quite a long time back.
I hope you found this recipe helpful (and delicious), and enjoy!