Of course it is. That's why I keep trying and trying and trying and.....
Yesterday I tried to make sugared/spiced pecans by following a recipe from a friend's Junior League of Somewhere cookbook. This is the recipe:
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
According to the recipe, all I had to do was saute all the ingredients until the sugar caramelized. That's what I did. Then, following instructions, I put the pecans in a small paper bag to cool.
This is the result:
Yes, they look fine, but they were awful---very, very salty with no sugar flavor at all.
I called my friend, the great cook, to see if she had any advice. She looked up another recipe and told me to put it all together, melt the sugar, and then boil for five to eight minutes. She also warned me that even a few seconds too long, and the pecans would go from caramelized to burnt.
She was correct.
And do you see all the butter soaking the bag? A lot of the butter is absorbed by the pecans, but not all of it. Heart attack in a bag, that's what these things are. If you could eat them. There is no word to describe how really awful burned, sugared pecans taste. It took a shot of Tequila to get rid of the flavor. Really.
So then my friend suggested I look online. And I followed the recipes I found, none of which called for butter or for sauteing.
This is the result. Can you see the pecans? Neither can I. The recipe called for coating the pecans with foamy egg whites, and then coating them with sugar. Then baking them. I think I used too much egg white.
They taste almost right. Sugared but with a LOT of crunchy merengue.
Later in the evening my friend called to tell me that she thought that I could BUY sugared pecans - already made! - at Fresh Market. I looked on their website and there they were.
So first thing this morning, that is where I went. And I bought these:
Lesson learned. Let someone else do the cooking whenever possible.