Many quick breads (like banana) and cakes (like carrot) call for a smattering of either pecans or walnuts. I usually reach for pecans, because they taste better than walnuts, but this weekend I upped the taste factor even further by using candied pecans in a carrot cake I made for a friend.
I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this the entire time I’ve been baking. A candied nut gives your cake or quick bread (which is also a cake, if we’re being honest) a little more flavour, a little more spice and a little more sugar. You can toss them in the batter in the same proportions as plain nuts, but they also make a delightful decorative topping, as sugar has a way of making things shiny and pretty.
You can buy the nuts already candied (which is what I did) or you can candy them yourself in your slow cooker, which gives you a little more control over the final flavour profile.
If you opt to candy your own nuts, just be sure they have time to fully dry before adding them to your batter so they stay as crunchy as possible. Then simply add the amount of nuts called for in your recipe and set aside some extra for a decorative topping. They look great sprinkled over a cream cheese frosting, but you can toss some pretty halves right onto the top of an unbaked banana bread loaf if you’re feeling sassy.