By itself, ginger is not one of my favorites. I like ginger snaps, gingerbread, spice cakes, etc. but I always leave pickled ginger on my sushi board and can’t fathom why anyone would want to eat crystallized ginger. There’s something about its pungent scent that hits my nose the wrong way. It’s like those old Warner Bros.’ cartoons where characters get into sneezing fits at the mere whiff of pepper — that’s me with ginger.
Therefore, participating in this month’s Sugar High Friday (theme: ginger) presented a bit of a challenge.
I have another idea up my sleeve (Will I get to it? Who knows.) but, for the first try, I’ve got Ginger Scented Pecans from MarthaStewart.com. Her copywriters write:
Sweet and spicy, these ginger-infused pecans are not only an enticing accompaniment to a drink before dinner but an excellent gift as well. Slip them inside cellophane floral bags, and seal the bags with linen twine. Toasting the nuts not only crisps them; it also releases their essential oils, bringing out their fullest flavor. Use only the freshest nuts you can find, and discard all broken pieces.
They were a snap to make; from start to finish, the whole thing took about 35 minutes, including cooling time. The only snag I ran into was the amount of honey, water, and oil to be used. The original recipe’s proportions evaporated in no time, so I wound up doubling the amount of liquid and stirring constantly until all the liquid was gone (those changes are reflected below).
As for the taste: holy crow, these are pecans good! They’ve got a gentle sweetness from the sugar and honey, a subtle zing from the ginger, and a rich butteryness from the toasted pecans, all heightened by a whisper of salt. They would make great gifts — delicious, pretty, and easy.
Of course, no one is going to eat this batch but me. I want to make sure — over and over — that they’re really worthy of gift giving.
It’s what Martha would want me to do.
Ginger Scented Pecans
5 c. pecan halves
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. canola oil
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees F and place nuts in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Toast until nuts are fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Meanwhile, combine sugar, salt, and ginger in a small bowl, and set aside.
Combine honey, water, and oil in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and add roasted pecans. Cook, stirring consistently, until all of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add sugar mixture, and toss until well combined. Spread nuts in a single layer on a sheet of parchment paper to cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.