Butter Pecan Candy

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Butter Pecan Candy

This recipe was inspired by two different low-carb toffee recipes: one called Toffee, by Pami on Low-Carb Friends forums; one called Heath Bar Candy by Elaine Smith, also on Low-Carb Friends forums.   I first tried Elaine’s recipe and it basically failed on me, in that when the boiled sugar mix reached the “brown paper bag color” specified in the recipe, I don’t think it had cooked long enough, so the final candy was too grainy and fragile when I tried to get it out of the pan.  Just wasn’t cohesive enough.

So as not to waste the nuts, I basically reheated the candy so I could strain out the pecans and recooked the sugar mix longer, but also decided to add in a little polydextrose, as Pami does in her recipe.  If unfamiliar with polydextrose, you can read about it here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polydextrose I added a few other things as well.  This time I boiled the candy until it would form a nearly firm, but still stretchy/pliable, like a stiff caramel or SloPoke candy bar being stretched out (if you ever ate one of those).  In other words, I cooked it to “just short of hard ball stage” in candy making terms, or around 300º-310º on a candy thermometer.   Hard ball stage would end up it like peanut brittle, and you definitely don’t want it that hard.

So cooking longer seems to have been what was needed!  The result is not only very tasty (I’m munching down on it as I type this.  Mmmm.)  The texture is just about like the toffee center of a Heath® bar.  This batch came out VERY close to my Mom’s sugar-based Butter Brickle Candy she mades at Christmas every year!  This recipe is not acceptable until the nuts and seeds rung of Atkins Phase 2 OWL.

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1¼ c. erythritol, powdered

2 T. hazelnut sugar-free syrup (DaVinci or Torani)

2 T. caramel sugar-free syrup (DaVinci or Torani)

¼ tsp. vanilla

2 sticks butter, unsalted (8 oz.)

2 T. water

Dash salt

1/2 c.+ 2 T. polydextrose

2 c. pecan halves, chopped coarsely

DIRECTIONS:  Liberally butter a 12½ x 17½ sheet pan (even if it is non-stick, butter the pan!).  Chop the pecans and place in a bowl and set by the stove top.  Powder the erythritol in a food processor if you are using granular.  Using a large saucepan (3-4 qt.), melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Place a saucer of cold water beside the stove. Add the erythritol,  polydextrose, vanilla, both syrups, water and salt to the saucepan and whip with a whisk.  It will eventually get smooth (add a T. more water if not) as you bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.  As with most candy-making, you should stir the mixture continuously throughout the preferably with a whisk.  The mixture will slowly change from a slightly yellowish color to a tan and eventually dark caramel color when it is ready.  When the color starts to go browner, drop a few drops of mix in the water and see if it will clump together when you try to form a ball with your finger.  If it won’t, keep cooking and stirring.  Repeat the ball test in fresh water again in a few minutes.    When it will come together and form a ball or clump that feels pretty stiff but is still a little pliable, the mixture has cooked long enough.  Remove from heat.  Very quickly stir in the chopped pecans.  Working just as fast as you can, pour it onto the greased sheet pan, spreading quickly with a rubber spatula out to the edges of the pan.  It will set up real fast, so you really must work quickly.   I have never been able to work fast enough to be able to mark off square pieces with a knife, but maybe you’re faster than I.  :)  When it is fully set (about an hour) , lift it up with the edge of a metal spatula and break into pieces.  Store in a VERY air-tight container at room temperature, as humidity (even in a refrigerator) really messes this candy up.  It will get softer and grainy if it gets damp.  If in an air-tight enough container, I found mine got a little more brittle on day 2, which pleased me greatly.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Because I can’t know how your pieces will break up, an exact nutritional count is virtually impossible for this candy.   So I will give you the info for the entire pan full and you will have to estimate based on your number of pieces.  I got around 100 1″ pieces, maybe more, I’d guess, which made mine averaged around .18 net carbs per piece, or 5 pieces for 1 NC.  Some pieces broke small, some broke off larger.   Although per piece counts are impossible, clearly the count is so low (since polydextrose is full of deductible fiber), I never worry about it. Basically only the pecans really rack up the few carbs that are in this.

Entire batch:

3233 calories

339 g  fat

139 carbs, 121 g  fiber, only 18 NET CARBS (for the entire batch!!)

22 g  protein

199 mg sodium

939 mg potassium

2 comments on “Butter Pecan Candy

  1. Hi Lisa! I ordered my 4# bag of polyD from Honeyvillegrains.com, which was a better deal when I ordered mine. But Netrition has it in smaller bags and a fairly good deal on it right now. I just looked today.

    I’ve never used xylitol to cook with as its just so toxic to dogs. Smallest amount can kill a small breed before you can even get them to a vet! I try not to bring it in the house because I know one day I or my husband might forget what I’d used it in and drop a piece or hand them a bite.

    That said, I assume you can use it in this recipe. I’ve not heard any usage cautions on xylitol. Here’s what I know about these sweeteners. Low Carb Friends forum members say it takes 1 1/3c. erythritol (1/3 c. is around 5T.+1tsp I believe) to equal 1 c. real sugar. But it only takes takes 1c. + 1½T. xylitol to equal 1 c. sugar. So when you sub in the Xylitol, use about 3½T. less? That would be my only suggestion. At least that’s where I would start. Hope it comes out OK and that you guys like it. I’ve been munching on a few pieces today. Must stop that. 🙂


  2. This looks good! A few questions though. Can you substitute xylitol for erythritol? Also, where would you get polydextrose? I’ve never heard of it. Is there some kind of substitution for it too?


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