When I smell caramelizing sugar and chipotle wafting from the kitchen I know it's the holiday season. Mom makes gigantic batches of these remarkably addictive nuts each year to give out as Christmas presents. This year she doubled the recipe and made three batches, and what she didn't give away is long gone. She makes them without measuring, but fortunately she let me observe and record the recipe. Mom suggests you get all your ingredients ready ahead of time because the temperature rises quickly at the end which can ruin the consistency. If you don't like chipotle you can omit it and the nuts will still be good, they just won't have that extra bite.
1 cup unrefined cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups pecans (lightly toasting first is optional)
Spread out a generous length of wax paper on the counter. In a large saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the Sucanat, water, and cinnamon over medium heat and stir until dissolved. When the temperature reaches about 225F, stir in the salt and chipotle. At 250F, remove from heat, add the vanilla, briefly stir, then add the pecans. Stir to coat the pecans and keep stirring until the sugar is completely crystalized. Spread out on the wax paper. Try not to "test" as many as I do.