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Spiced pecans

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
By Karoline Boehm Goodnick
Globe Correspondent / November 24, 2010

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Makes 1 pound

As a child, I thought of these pecans as something to be eaten by the fistful, directly from the tin, when Mom wasn’t watching. Now I show some restraint and add them for crunch to a warm spinach salad, set them beside cheeses on an appetizer plate, or crumble them over vanilla ice cream. What makes them so good is a coating of egg whites, then a second coating of sugar, salt, and cinnamon, which turn the nuts crisp, dry, and delicious. Whipping up a batch for a party is no more difficult than making a few for a small dinner. They will keep for a week in an airtight container. They also make a fine house gift.

Butter (for the pan)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
1 pound large pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Set the oven at 225 degrees. Butter a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the nuts, whisk the egg white and water until frothy. Stir in the pecans; mix until they are well coated.

3. In another bowl, mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the sugar mixture over the nuts and toss well. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or until very crisp. Leave to cool completely.

4. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.