Or maybe it's just me. In the kitchen with me. Whichever way it is, I have been doing some serious baking, cooking, and candy making over the last two weeks. However, one thing that has been made slightly more than anything else is seasoned pecans. My parents have four pecan trees that have been quite generous with their production over the last couple of years. My mother finally got tired of trying to keep up with the shelling and took them to be cracked. Believe me, when you're not dealing with paper shells, that's exactly what you want to do! Mom and Dad were kind enough to give us a large paper bag filled with cracked (but not shelled) pecans, so Mr. Awesome and I (well, mostly Mr. Awesome) have been sitting on the couch at night watching the first season on The Andy Griffith Show and getting those things ready to eat. I don't really have enough space in the freezer right now to store the cracked pecans (which could go rancid if left out), so I have been making yummy treats with them instead.
This recipe comes from the 1953 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Please try to hold back your shock when I tell you I changed it. I have the original recipe typed "normally" and what I did in italics.
Crisp Sugared Walnuts (the title alone should clue you in to some changes)
Place 2 1/2 cups walnut halves in a shallow pan and roast in oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Take out of oven. I used 4 cups pecans in place of the walnuts and my big stoneware bar pan.
Cook 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt to 236 without stirring. I did this for a couple of batches, but you can also leave out the cinnamon and put in a total of 2 1/2 tsps of salt for sweet and salty nuts. They are equally delicious.
Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 tsps vanilla and nuts until nuts are well coated in syrup. I actually did this. Kinda. I have no idea how much vanilla I used.
Spread nuts out onto a greased platter. Leave until cool. I spread mine out on foil instead, which worked really well.
These turned out great every time I made them and were liked by all. I'm actually going to make two more batches today. I'll have to time it to see how long they last...
And who could stay out of the kitchen when they have this new, incredibly adorable oven mitt? Thanks so much Anita!!