This recipe belonged to one of my neighbors who has since moved away. She made these delicious nuts during the holiday season. Although people asked for the recipe often, she rarely gave it out. As she got older she decided to begin sharing and revealed it to a friend, who passed it on to me. They are easy to make and go over well whenever you serve them. You can make them with walnuts if you prefer. The recipe calls for evaporated milk, but I sometimes make them dairy-free by substituting almond milk, and they are just as good. You will need to use a candy thermometer for accurate results. I generally double the recipe.
Cinnamon Spiced Pecans
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. evaporated milk or almond milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. pecan halves or walnuts
Begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside. In a 3-quart saucepan combine sugar, milk, cinnamon and cream of tartar. Stir to dissolve sugar then attach a candy thermometer to the side of a pan. Bring to the boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil until the mixture reaches the softball stage (235-240 degrees). I usually take a cup of cold water and drizzle a spoonful of the boiling liquid into the cold water. If it forms a soft caramel it is done. Test it with your fingers. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla then add the nuts and stir. Work quickly because the sugar mixture begins to harden onto the nuts rather quickly. Pour the nuts onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. The nuts will be somewhat stuck together. Break them apart with your hands (be careful not to burn yourself). Let nuts sit until completely cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 1-1/2 c. spiced nuts.