Holy Mole Pecans

I totally love these meringue-y, spicy chocolate nuts. Like the Mexican sauce these are named after, these pecans are rich without being too sweet.

Makes 2 cups.

1 large egg white (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups raw pecan halves
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the egg white in a stainless steel bowl and whip until frothy. Whip in the vanilla, then gently add the pecans and toss until completely coated with the mixture.

3. Place the remaining ingredients in a medium-size bowl and toss until well combined. Add the sugar mixture to the pecans, a quarter of it at a time, and very gently toss until well coated.

4. Transfer the pecans to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer. Try not to let the pecans touch each other. Place the sheet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Gently turn over the nuts and continue to cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until the coating is lightly colored and dried out about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, immediately loosen the nuts with a metal spatula, and set aside to cool before serving.

If you’re sipping: Snack on these straight up while sipping a White Russian or a coffee liqueur such as Tia Maria. Not just for snacking: Use them on top a hot fudge sundae (coffee, vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, and orange are all good ice cream choices).

From Party Nuts! 50 Recipes for Spicy, Sweet, Savory, and Simply Sensational Nuts That Will Be the Hit of Any Gathering (The Harvard Common Press, 2002)