Do you enjoy flavor contrasts? I have always loved spicy/sweet/salty combinations. I love the nuance of flavors that can be tasted in a single bite; like the shades of color the eye experiences in strikingly colorful mural, shades of flavor can be just as invigorating and internally stimulating.
I also love contrasts in texture. The crunchy pecans and moist raisins in my recipe pair together truly beautifully.
The raisins will be especially moist if you dehydrate them yourself. I realize that not everyone owns a dehydrator. You can very easily use store bought raisins in this recipe. But now that I’ve put the thought in your head- keep your eye out, you may run across a great deal on one. 🙂
And if you do…I strongly encourage you to make the investment. There’s so much you can do! I’ll share some other ideas in an upcoming recipe.
However, if you have one, or can borrow one, it’s really makes for a juicer, more flavorful raisin. It’s something I strongly encourage you to try – even just once.
I’m fortunate enough to have a dehydrator, and that’s actually how I came up with this recipe.
I go in phases with my food dehydrator. During my “on” phase I’m constantly dehydrating, then for a few weeks I fall away and get obsessed with some other kitchen appliance- like my juicer. I always come back though. I can never stay away from dehydrating for too long. It’s been become a part of my routine and how I create the food I eat.
While I was dehydrating some grapes the other day. I began thinking of what would work well. I started to think that something crunchy would be perfect…
After a few attempts, I discovered that sugar coated pecans paired fantastically with raisins.
I prefer the golden raisin which come from light grapes, so they’re the ones I used. If you prefer another variety, by all means try those.
This easy-to-make homemade recipe produces a great snack that you can take with you to enjoy on the go, practically anywhere. Let’s not forget that making anything at home eliminates unnecessary chemicals, while providing you a wealth of nutritional benefits.
To share just a few:
Cinnamon is full of nutrients that can even boost your memory and help with issues like hardening of the arteries, by helping to eliminate bad (LDL) cholesterol. It also contains iron and calcium.
Red peppers are full of anti-oxidants, vitamins C and A. They are even shown in studies to bolster metabolism.
If you’ve never tried sugar coated pecans- try my recipe below and see what you’ve been missing out on!
Spicy Candied Pecan and Raisin Snack
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup Raisins
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 pinch Coarse salt (Kosher or Sea salt)
*If you make your own grapes, it will take 10 hours in the dehydrator. If you use store-bought raisins, it will take just 20 minutes from start to finish.
1.) Add the water and sugar to a saucepan, over medium heat. Stir constantly so the sugar dissolves and doesn’t stick. Make sure you use a heat resistant spoon.
2.) Add the cinnamon and the crushed red pepper and keep stirring.
3.) Add the pecans- keep stirring.
4.) The mixture will start to thicken very quickly. For a thick covering allow the sauce to thicken to a heavy molasses-like consistency. For a light glaze remove earlier. After about four minutes the mixtures should be thickened enough for a heavy glaze.
5.) Remove from heat.
6.) Remove the pecans using a spoon, and allow them to cool on a clean dry area. A baking sheet covered in parchment paper works really well.
7.) For added crunch you can toast in oven on at 225F for about 8-10minutes. You can omit this step if you are not looking for an overly crunchy pecan.
8.) Either way-Let them cool for about an hour.
9.) I dehydrated my own raisins. To do this I first blanch my grapes in boiling water for about one minute. I then transfer to my dehydrator set at 160F for 2 hours then about 6 to 7 more hours at 140F. It depends on the size of the grapes and their level of moisture (how juicy they are) and how full your dehydrator is. I try to fill my dehydrator to make the biggest batches I can at any given time.
10.) Don’t forget the dehydrator is NOT a deal-breaker here. Store bought raisins will taste great too. Happy Snacking 🙂
Photo: Alex Kudukis