Crunchy Chili and Brown Sugar Pecans

Unlike most sweetened pecans, the sugar in these is brown, which results in a nut that is wonderfully crunchy. This recipe is a great vehicle for experimenting with different chili powders.

Include these nuts on a cheese plate with thinly sliced cured meats, berries, and mixed green and black olives.

Makes 4 cups.

4 cups raw pecan halves
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the pecans and melted butter in a large bowl and toss until the nuts are well coated. Add the chili powder and brown sugar and toss again.

3. Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer. Place in the oven and bake until the nuts are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

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

If you’re sipping: Pair these with a fruity white wine such as a New Zealand or Australian Sauvignon Blanc or an Alsatian white. Not just for snacking: Sprinkle on caramelized or grilled onions, or toss into salads with mixed greens and leftover grilled pork or chicken, or for dessert, mix into vanilla, coffee, or chocolate ice cream. For true decadence, drizzle the ice cream with caramel sauce laced with rum.

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)