Sugar coated pecans recipe follows story
Ethel groaned when Ginny came into the kitchen with a yellow sheet from her TODAY! pad.
Oh no, another new recipe! Ethel thought.
“Ethel, do you think you could help me make some Christmas presents this year? I found this recipe for Sugar Coated Pecans. I thought they would make perfect gifts.” Ginny sat down at the table, fiddled with her reading glasses, and then perused her pad. “The only part I think I’ll need help with is working quickly. The recipe says, ‘You must work quickly to get the nuts on the waxed paper.’” She looked up at Ethel who stood in front of the sink. “I think I could to do it by myself. I’m just nervous about working quickly. And I’m not too sure about soft ball stage either. What does that mean?”
“I reckon I can help. Lemme see de recipe.” She took the slip of paper from Ginny’s outstretched hand. Reading it over, she grunted a few times shaking her head. “Miz Ginny this ain’t as easy as it looks. Whenever you get t’ dealing wit’ making candy, you got t’ work smart an’ fast. You is definitely goin’ t’ need my help.”
“Would you mind helping me then?”
“I doan mind, but I tell you Miz Ginny, if you doan mind I ’spect it be better if I made dem nuts myself. It takes a bit of knowin’ how when it comes t’ making candy. ’Sides I’d hate fo’ you to get burned. It’s easy to do with hot sugar.”
When Ginny’s face fell in disappointment, Ethel suggested, “I tell you what, I’ll make a batch an’ you can watch. If you think you can do it den we can try a batch together. Dat way if you wants to make mo’ for Christmas you can do it yo’ own self.”
“That sounds like a fine plan. Do you think I could make sugar coated walnuts too?”
Ethel smiled, “Doan see why not.”
“What does soft ball stage mean?” Ginny asked again.
Ethel explained, “You make a syrup from boilin’ sugar an’ water. De longer it boils de harder de syrup gets. De way t’ find out how hard is t’ put a drop or two in water. At de soft ball stage de drop o’syrup turns int’ a soft little ball. Cook it more an’ it gets hard until it turns into hard strings of syrup. Doan worry I’ll show you.”
Sugar Coated Pecans
1 small can (6 ½ oz.) evaporated milk
2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
4 c. pecan halves
Cook first three ingredients to soft ball stage. Pour over pecans and stir to cover nuts. Spread on waxed paper individually to cool. Coating will harden.
The hotter the coating, the clearer it remains on the nuts. You must work quickly ot get the nuts on the waxed paper. Do not try all four cups of nuts at once. 1-2 cups at a time is easier to handle.