{recipe} Coconut Candied Pecans

I love candied nuts, and make them each year for the holidays. I usually do a sweet, salty, and spicy version. But lately I have discovered a way to make candied nuts that are better than the usual: by adding a generous helping of unsweetened coconut flakes to the mix. It adds a subtle coconut flavor and a welcome chewiness to the mix. I like the Bob’s Red Mill brand because the flakes are paper-thin but big enough to stand up to the nuts.

I have been putting these on all kinds of things. I first made a version with pistachios and slivered almonds and put it on a spinach salad that also had pomegranate seeds and roasted squash on it. That was great, but last night I made them with pecans to top a pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

My dinner guests last night brazenly asked for to-go bags of nuts for their morning yogurt. I was all too happy to comply, because these are all-too-hard to stop eating as a snack. I promised to post the recipe today, so they can make them for their Thanksgiving dinners.

I don’t like using a candy thermometer to make these, because the amount of sugar is so small, it’s hard to get an accurate temperature. There is a much easier way to figure out when you’re at soft ball stage without using a thermometer, which I explain here. Don’t be put off by the idea of having to get to a specific temperature: it is really not as hard as it sounds!

RECIPE: Coconut Candied Pecans
makes 2 cups


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 3/4 cup water


  • In a bowl, mix pecans, coconut, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  • Prepare a cookie sheet or sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. Set aside.
  • Combine sugar and water in a saucepan on the stove over medium high heat.
  • When the sugar reaches 238 degrees F (soft ball stage,) turn off the heat. (You can use a candy thermometer or this method to figure out when you have reached soft ball stage.)
  • Add the nut mixture immediately. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes, until the nuts start to get a sandy texture and the sugar begins to crystallize and turn white and crumbly.
  • Pour nuts out onto prepared pan. When they are cool enough to handle, gently break the clumps up with your hands.
  • You can store them for up to a week in a sealed plastic bag or tightly closed container.

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