Halloween marks the start of fall candy season. Whether bought or homemade, candied sweets are found in homes from the end of October through the December holidays. It’s timely, then, that Anita Chu has just written her “Field Guide to Candy: How to Identify and Make Virtually Every Candy Imaginable” (Quirk, $15.95). In it, you’ll find all types of homemade treats, from the simplest candied nuts to the more complicated filled, molded chocolates.
The word candy, by the way, comes from the Arabic word qandi, meaning sugar, Chu writes. She adds that the first candies were made in Egypt, where fruits were coated in honey to preserve them.
The guide includes many tips on working with chocolate and sugar, as well as tools for successful candy making. Here is Chu’s method for making candied pecans, a simple sweet for fall entertaining. The same recipe can be used for walnuts, almonds or peanuts.
2 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan halves
Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until frothy. Combine in another bowl the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon and teaspoon salt. Add pecan halves to the egg whites; stir to coat. Toss the nuts in the sugar mixture to coat.
Place the nuts on a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes. Makes about 2 cups of nuts. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.