Candied Pecans Two Ways 2.04 Road Trip to Harvard


“You know what, I love road food.” “I love it too.” “I mean, what can be better than what they serve at a Hayden's Nut House?” “Unless you don't like nuts.” “As if those people exist. You know, if I was in a rock band touring and stuff, I'd make the bus driver stop at every Hayden's Nut House we pass.” “Wow, your Behind the Music is gonna be really wild.”


Ingredients:

For sweet candied pecans:

  • 1 ½ cups of pecans

  • 1 egg white

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • ½ tsp salt

For savory candied pecans:

  • 1 ½ cups of pecans

  • 1 ½ tbsp of melted butter

  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

  • ½ tsp chili powder

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. If you’re making both types of pecans, layer two baking trays. If you’re only making one flavor, just line one tray.

For the sweet candied pecans:

  1. Add the pecans to a small mixing bowl. Add the egg white then use a spatula to toss the pecans, making sure they are fully coated.

  2. Add both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Then toss again and make sure the pecans are coated in the sugar and spice mixture. You could make the sugar and spice mixture in a separate bowl before adding to ensure an even mixture, but I was trying to use as few bowls as possible and it all gets mixed up anyway.

  3. Spread the pecans evenly on the prepared baking tray. If you are also making the savory pecans, go ahead and prepare those. If not, see below for baking times.

For the savory candied pecans:

  1. Add the pecans to a small mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and maple syrup, then use a spatula to toss the pecans, making sure they are fully coated.

  2. Add all the spices and toss again. You know the drill, make sure they’re all coated.

  3. Spread the pecans evenly on the other lined baking tray.

Baking times:

  1. Bake both types of pecans at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the trays and use a spatula to toss the pecans on their respective baking trays, unsticking any from the tray.

  2. Return the trays back to the oven. Whichever tray you placed on the lower shelf the first time, switch it so that it’s now on the higher shelf. Bake for an additional 15 minutes at 300 degrees.

  3. Remove the trays and toss the pecans once more. The savory pecans are done and ready to cool completely. Pop the sweet pecans back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the sweet pecans from the oven, toss them one more time and allow to cool completely.

Naturally, the sweet pecans were my favorite. I have a sweet tooth!

What a week it has been. I’m sure you have heard about what’s been going on down in Texas. Where I live, we had rotating power outages so we had about 20-30 minutes of power every couple of hours. We have been under a boiled water notice since Tuesday morning. However, I am very fortunate that we survived the 2021 winter storm without any damage or loss, but there are many of my fellow Texans that didn’t. If you have the means to, please consider donating to AOC’s Texas relief fund. She is distributing donations across 12 Texas organizations that are on the ground, helping people through this.


Luckily, the dish I had planned for this episode didn’t need any water, and once we got our power back on Thursday, I was able to bake the spiced nights. They made for a great snow day snack so we could stretch our food a little longer until the grocery stores are able to replenish. I can easily see Lorelai and Rory stocking up on these at Hayden’s Nut House as they drove aimlessly around the northeast. I can also understand why Lorelai would want to stop at every Hayden’s Nut House if she was on tour.


If you like spicy flavors, feel free to kick up the cayenne pepper.

I’m not really a sports fan (I think it’s one of the zillion reasons I like Gilmore Girls so much), though I’d rather go to the game in person than watch them on TV (“There’s something deeply satisfying about watching other people exercise while eating junk food”). And one of my favorite snacks to get if I did go to a sports game when you could safely attend was candied pecans. I enjoy a good salty/sweet combo. I offered two ways of making candied pecans so you can either make both or double the recipe if you’re more of a sweet or more of a savory person. Plus, I think Hayden’s Nut House would have a variety.


There’s so much I love about this episode. Even though the other characters truly make this show, I like when we focus on just Rory and Lorelai during some episodes. We get a better glimpse at their special relationship. The way their argument during the first night at the B&B is resolved so quickly shows the true love in their relationship. Rory realizes how hurt her mom is about not wanting to marry Max and she changes tactics to cover her mom instead. We see their best friends first dynamic play out here.

The one thing- really the only thing in this episode- that bugs me is how bothered Lorelai and Rory are over the concept of a cutesy B&B when Lorelai literally talks about opening one at the very end of the episode. Okay, they never call the Dragonfly a bed and breakfast, but that’s essentially what it is. They offer other meals, but so do a lot of other B&Bs. I’m pretty sure the Cheshire Cat set is also the Dragonfly set, and they didn’t change the decor all that much. It's just strange that Lorelai is creeped out by this B&B, but hers is totally normal.

The best part of this episode is obviously the trip to Harvard. Even though Rory ends up not going to Harvard, we get to see her excitement over her dream school. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a college counselor, and Rory’s reaction to sitting in on a college class and participating in the class discussion is something that I think resonates with many students who are about to attend college. I appreciate that the writers included this moment while Rory and Lorelai are on campus.

Brown sugar cinnamon is one of my favorite flavor profiles

It also allows us to get a glimpse into Lorelai’s mind while she wanders the hallway. Obviously, it’s clear throughout the show that Lorelai doesn’t regret having Rory, but I like when we get moments when she wonders “what if” and we get one of those moments in this scene. What if she had gone to college? These moments make Lorelai a more well-rounded character. I don’t typically like when shows do a “what if” alternate universe episode (yes, I’m looking at you, Grey’s Anatomy), so I like when it’s just small moments like this.

The maple syrup of the savory nuts gives a lovely sweetness to the spice

When the girls return to Stars Hollow, Lorelai says a line that always resonates with me “Every time I leave town, even for just a little while, I always expect everything to look different” (RIP traveling). And one of my favorite moments of this episode is when Lorelai decides to move forward with getting her own inn. She doesn’t dwell over getting married, and she decides to chase after her dream. This is one of the things I love most about Lorelai.


I don’t know when my next post will be. Still being under a boiled water notice makes cooking a little difficult and the grocery stores are pretty depleted. I’m going to take a few days for my mental health, take a chance to recuperate, and check in with friends. We have a big episode next (hello, Jess), so I’ll keep you updated when the next post is. So stay tuned, friends! I hope everyone is staying safe.


Happy Cooking!


These candied pecans make such a great, easy snack!

If you missed what I made last episode, catch up here!

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