Candied pecans are a delightful treat that can be used in a variety of dishes or enjoyed on their own. Traditionally, they are made on the stovetop or in the oven, but did you know you can also make them in the microwave? Yes, you heard it right! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of making candied pecans in the microwave, along with some tips and tricks to get the best results.
To make candied pecans in the microwave, combine 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 cups of pecans and optionally, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir the pecans to ensure they are evenly coated with the sugar mixture. Allow them to cool on parchment paper before storing in an airtight container.
To make candied pecans in the microwave, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (57 g) water
- 2 cups (198 g) whole pecans (room temperature)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Choosing the Right Pecans
When choosing pecans for your recipe, it’s important to start with unroasted, unsalted pecans that are plump and uniform. Some packaged nuts have freshness dates on the bag, which can help you find the freshest pecans. If you’re buying in bulk, break a few to ensure they are crisp and crunchy, not limp or rubbery. The pecans should also have a fresh, nutty aroma, and not smell musty or rancid.
Choosing the Right Microwave-Safe Dish
Use a microwave-safe Pyrex glass container for this process. The temperature of the sugar gets extremely hot and can shatter delicate, antique, or cheap glass from the dollar store. Avoid using plastic containers as they may not withstand the high temperatures involved in the process.
How to Make Candied Pecans in the Microwave
- Pour 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar into a 2-quart microwave-safe Pyrex glass batter bowl.
- Pour ¼ cup (57 g) water over the middle of the sugar (so water and sugar don’t splash up the sides). Do not stir or cover.
- Add 2 cups (198 g) whole pecans mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional), but DO NOT STIR, and microwave on High for 30 seconds.
Evenly Coating the Pecans
To ensure that pecans are evenly coated with the sugar mixture, follow these steps:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and any desired spices (such as cinnamon or cayenne pepper) until well combined.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together an egg white and a small amount of water or vanilla extract until frothy. This will help the sugar mixture adhere to the pecans.
- Add the pecans to the egg white mixture and stir until they are evenly coated.
- Pour the sugar mixture over the coated pecans and stir gently until all the pecans are evenly covered with the sugar mixture.
- Spread the coated pecans in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spread out and not clumped together. This will ensure that they cook evenly and have a consistent coating.
Cooling and Storing the Candied Pecans
Cooling and storing candied pecans properly is crucial. After cooking, spread them out in a single layer on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to cool. This will prevent them from sticking together and allow the sugar coating to harden. Once cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. If you need to extend their shelf life, store them in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. For even longer storage, freeze them following the steps outlined above.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When making candied pecans in the microwave, avoid these common mistakes:
- Using the wrong container: Use a microwave-safe glass container to avoid shattering or melting.
- Overcooking the sugar: Keep an eye on the mixture to avoid burning.
- Not stirring the pecans: Stir the pecans during cooking to ensure even coating.
- Using frozen pecans: Ensure your pecans are at room temperature before starting.
Variations and Additions
You can add different spices, herbs, or other ingredients to your basic recipe to create unique flavor profiles. For example, try adding a splash of bourbon or maple syrup for a sweet twist, or a dash of cayenne pepper for a spicy kick.
By following this comprehensive guide, you can make delicious, crunchy candied pecans in the microwave. Enjoy them as a snack, toss them in a salad, or use them as a topping for your favorite dessert. The possibilities are endless!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use other types of nuts for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other types of nuts like almonds, cashews, or walnuts. However, the cooking time might vary depending on the size and hardness of the nuts.
Can I use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar?
Yes, you can use brown sugar in place of granulated sugar. Brown sugar will give a deeper, more caramel-like flavor to the candied pecans.
Can I use this recipe for a larger quantity of pecans?
Yes, you can. However, you will need to adjust the cooking time and make sure you have a large enough microwave-safe dish. Be careful not to overcrowd the pecans as they might not cook evenly.
How can I tell if my candied pecans are done?
The pecans are done when they are golden brown and the sugar coating is hard and crunchy. Be careful not to overcook them as they can quickly go from done to burnt.
Can I use a microwave-safe plastic dish for this recipe?
It’s not recommended to use a plastic dish as it might not withstand the high temperatures and could possibly melt or warp. Always use a microwave-safe glass dish for this recipe.