1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound pecan halves
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.*
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice until foamy, about 1 minute. Add the pecans and toss until they're lightly coated. Drain off any excess liquid.
Add the nuts to the sugar mixture, tossing until nuts are evenly coated. Spread the nuts on the parchment-lined baking sheets, removing any loose clumps of sugar. Bake 20 minutes. Stir the nuts and rotate the baking sheets so the one on the top rack moves to the bottom, and vice versa. Bake until the nuts are golden and dry, an additional 20 to 25 minutes.
To prevent the nuts from sticking to one another, let them cool completely on the baking sheets before you transfer them to bowls.
*Parchment paper is a must. If you use aluminum foil instead, as we once did, you'll find yourself scraping little bits of silver off each pecan. In a pinch, you can use sheets cut from brown paper bags.
Make-Ahead FactorThe nuts can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and kept tightly covered.