I more or less followed Diane’s recipe, substituting white sugar for the brown and adding a teaspoon of cinnamon. To make them dairy-free, I used Earth Balance margarine. It is salted, so I left the salt out of the recipe.
Making meringue covered nuts is sort of like making granola. Lots of stirring of stuff in a pan in the oven. As with granola recipes, there is some disagreement whether the temperature of the oven should be high or low.
Mashuga Nuts Clone
1 lb pecans (about 4-5 cups)
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick or 4 ounces)
(note: if using unsalted butter or margarine, add in some salt, 1/8 tsp.)
Line a half sheet pan (a rimmed baking sheet, 12″x17″) with heavy duty non-stick foil (or not, I just think that makes clean-up a lot easier).
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Put the stick of margarine or butter on the lined baking sheet and stick it in the oven. When the butter or margarine is melted, take out the pan from the oven.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat on high until the whites are thick and shiny. Mix in the vanilla and cinnamon. Fold in the pecans.
Spread the pecans over the melted butter or margarine in an even layer. Bake the nuts for 20 minutes and then stir. Bake another 15 minutes and stir again. Repeat until the meringue on the nuts is brown and the butter is absorbed. This should take another 1/2 hour or so. Let cool.
update: Cookies and Cups made my Mashuga Nuts clone. She has some really nice tutorial photos.