Candied Pecans with Aleppo

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Candied nuts are a dangerous sweet to have around the house (they go by the name "crack" in my apartment), but I like making small batches like this to top ice cream, bake into cookies, or use as a crumb topping in a crisp or pie. Those uses aside, out-of-hand eating is still my favorite addiction to this sweet, hot, and salty snack. But you're not just limited to dessert. These pecans (or peanuts, if you prefer) make an alluring addition to fried chicken batter and are a superb garnish on homemade pork buns. Cinnamon with higher oil content (such cinnamon is often labeled as "Saigon Cinnamon") has a sharp spiciness that pairs particularly well with aleppo.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons aleppo chile
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Directions

  1. 1.

    Combine pecans, sugar, spices, and salt in a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to keep pecans from burning.

  2. 2.

    Boil while syrup turns thick and bubbles stack on top of each other. Sweep a wooden spoon around bottom of pan while syrup tightens; when spoon shows bottom of pan and syrup has reduced to a thin coating on nuts, quickly transfer to a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and lubricated well with oil. Spread pecans out with wooden spoon to a thin, even layer.

  3. 3.

    Let pecans dry before removing from foil with a spatula. Break apart large chunks and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Pecans will keep for at least three months.