Chocolate covered pecans not only look and taste delicious, but they are a quick and easy gift idea.
Pop a dozen chocolate covered nuts into a cellophane bag and tie up with ribbon for teachers, colleagues, and neighbors.
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Why you’ll love this recipe
My chocolate covered pecan recipe is an absolute winner for being both quick and a great gift idea. We’re all so busy – and particularly so during the holidays – that having an excellent ‘go to’ recipe that looks wonderful and tastes delicious is essential. You can add a pretty, ribbon-tied bag of chocolate covered nuts to a tasty food hamper that will always be well received.
What’s more, you can use my instructions for tempering chocolate to help you with a myriad of other baking and gift ideas – see some of my suggestions under the ‘Variations’ heading.
However, if tempering chocolate isn’t for you, then do feel free to melt baking/ cooking chocolate instead. I prefer the glossy look and smooth mouthfeel of tempered chocolate, but if you need a super-quick recipe, then perhaps simply melting baking chocolate on the stove top or in the microwave is the best option for you today.
Either way, you will end up with a scrumptious treat!
Raw pecans are naturally cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and low in carbohydrates. They are also an excellent source of calcium, Omega-3, magnesium, Vitamin E, potassium, Vitamin A, and zinc – what a nutritional powerhouse!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
There are only three (delicious!) ingredients used for chocolate covered pecans – can you guess what they are?
- Real semisweet (dark) chocolate – Chocolate covered pecans are so exquisite that, in my opinion, they really do call for a good quality chocolate. I always try to use real semisweet dark chocolate, rather than baking chocolate, because I prefer the look, taste and mouthfeel of it. Couverture chocolate, if you can get it, always works best. However, if you’re pressed for time or only have access to baking chocolate, then that will work just fine, too.
- Pecans – As the name of the recipe suggests, pecans are the way to go! I use halved pecans because they look beautifully uniform when finished, and they’re big enough to hold onto while dipping. Having said that, under the ‘Variations’ heading I have added some suggestions for different ingredients you could choose to dip (chocolate covered hazelnuts are amazing!).
- Flake salt – There’s something a little bit special and a little bit decadent about ever so slightly salted chocolate – it’s one of my favorite things. While some may argue that salt is salt (and, broadly speaking, they’d be right!), flake salt is light, crispy, and airy crystals that add texture, crunch, and eye candy!
The first thing we’re going to do is temper the chocolate. This is the process of crystalizing the cocoa fat in the chocolate. The end result is glossy, aromatic chocolate that ‘snaps’ after it has hardened and we bite into it. Let’s get started:
Preheat your oven to 325ºF/ 160ºC.
When it’s heated, spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes until toasted, stirring every now and then.
When they’re ready, remove the pecans from the oven and allow them to cool.
While the pecans are cooling, we’re going to temper the chocolate.
Please note that the numbered directions below correspond to the photo above.
- Chop the chocolate finely and set aside ⅓ of it. Fill a small to medium sized saucepan with 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm of water). Heat the water on the stove until just simmering. Turn off the heat.
- Use a heatproof bowl that is just big enough to sit on top of the saucepan without the bottom of the bowl touching the hot water. Put ⅔ chocolate in the bowl. Be sure not to get even a drop of water in the chocolate. If your kitchen is cold, cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen cloth to keep the warmth in.
- After 5 minutes, stir the chocolate. If it has been chopped finely enough, it should have all melted and be just barely warm.
- Take the bowl off the saucepan and stir in the remaining ⅓ finely chopped chocolate.
- Continue stirring to melt the chocolate. If it doesn’t completely melt, place the bowl over the warm water but don’t overheat the chocolate or it will be out of temper again.
- Once the chocolate is completely melted, we can begin the dipping, but do keep coming back to stir the chocolate every now and then.
Next, we’re going to use the tempered chocolate (or, if you’re running short on time, your melted chocolate) to dip the pecans in. Again, please note that the numbered directions below correspond to the two step photo immediately above them.
- Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper. Dip a toasted and cooled pecan into the chocolate until almost covered. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off then place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining pecans, then sprinkle a little flaked salt over the chocolate covered pecans.
I have a zillion ideas for ways you can vary or customize my chocolate covered pecan recipe – and many of them don’t even include pecans! Tempered chocolate is fabulous when you’re using chocolate as confection, rather than as an ingredient in your baking. It has a smooth and glossy look (which is better, presentation-wise, than melted chocolate), and a soft and ‘melty’ mouthfeel. Tempered chocolate is the perfect choice for:
- Chocolate covered hazelnuts
- Chocolate dipped strawberries
- Chocolate covered cashews
- Chocolate dipped apple or citrus wedges
- Chocolate covered marshmallows
Other suggestions for things you can dip into tempered chocolate include:
- Candied ginger
- Dried apricots
- Candied orange slices
- Fortune cookies
- Figs (fresh or dried work well)
After the chocolate has set on your pecans, hazelnuts, strawberries, cashews, apple or citrus wedges, or marshmallows, you could try drizzling some melted white chocolate over the top – it looks spectacular!
If you don’t have the time or inclination to temper your chocolate, you can use baking chocolate. It will still set well, but just won’t have the same shiny and ‘professional’ look to it, nor the same melty mouthfeel.
Whether you choose to use tempered or baking chocolate, perhaps you could try adding some decoration afterwards, like:
- a pinch of sprinkles/ jimmies/ hundreds and thousands/ nonpareils
- a few baking cachous
- some desiccated coconut
- a few beautiful edible flower petals
- dried chilli flakes (only if you dare…!)
Tips for Success and FAQs
The very best tip I can give you for tempering chocolate is not to let in ANY water – not even a drop! In fact, I recommend using a silicone spatula or metal spoon instead of a wooden spoon because wooden utensils can retain a little bit of moisture that won’t do your chocolate any favors at all.
My next tip is that if you are in a rush, don’t try to temper chocolate. Instead, just melt chopped baking chocolate in a small bowl over barely simmering water or using 20 seconds bursts in the microwave. While tempering chocolate need not take too long, it is not something that can be rushed. Using baking chocolate and melting it on the stove or in the microwave is definitely a time saving option, and although the end result will look slightly ‘duller’ and have a different mouthfeel, it is still delicious.
Yes! Chocolate can be frozen well, as can pecans. The trick is to make sure that they are properly sealed in an airtight container. Wrap them first in cling film (or put into a Ziploc bag), then into an airtight container so that they don’t get knocked and damaged in the freezer. Chocolate covered pecans can be successfully frozen for up to three months.
Pecans are an excellent choice of snack because they are naturally cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and low in carbohydrates. Pecans are also loaded with calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A & E, as well as Omega-3 and zinc, meaning they are good for your heart health. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, and some experts suggest that – in small quantities – it could help lower your risk of heart disease. However, like all things, moderation is key!
Earlier I mentioned my suggestion about adding a scoop of chocolate covered pecans (or any chocolate covered nuts or fruits) to a small cellophane bag and tying it up with a ribbon. It makes a great gift for colleagues, neighbors, and the kids’ teachers.
If you’re looking to make a tasty little hamper, you could add some of my gorgeous little gingerbread cookies without molasses – they’re super cute.
Or what about baci di dama? These Italian hazelnut cookies’ name translates to mean “lady’s kisses” – who could resist a name like that?!
Lastly, if you’re making a holiday hamper, my raspberry compote is exceptionally quick and easy to make, and looks fabulously festive in a pretty jar.
I’d love to hear how you go with my chocolate covered pecan recipe – please leave me a note below to tell me what worked best for you!
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Chocolate Covered Pecan Recipe
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 8 oz (115 grams) semi sweet (dark) chocolate
- Salt flakes as needed
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF/160ºC.
- Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes until toasted, stirring every now and then.
- Remove pecans and allow to cool.
- In the meantime prepare to temper the chocolate (if needed – see “Variations”).
- Chop the chocolate finely and set aside ⅓.
- Fill a small/medium saucepan with 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm of water). Heat the water on the stove until just simmering. Turn off the heat.
- Use a heatproof bowl that is just big enough to sit on top of the saucepan without the bottom of the bowl touching the hot water.
- Put ⅔ chocolate in the bowl. Be sure not to get even a drop of water in the chocolate.
- If your kitchen is cold, cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen cloth to keep the warmth in.
- After 5 minutes, stir the chocolate. If it has been finely chopped, it will have all melted by now and just barely warm.
- Take the bowl off the saucepan and stir in the remaining ⅓ finely chopped chocolate.
- Continue stirring to melt the chocolate.
- If it doesn’t completely melt, place the bowl over the warm water but don’t overheat the chocolate or it will be out of temper again.
- Line a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
- Dip a toasted pecan into the chocolate until almost covered. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off then place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Sprinkle a little flaked salt over chocolate covered pecan. Repeat with remaining pecans.
- You will have leftover chocolate but don’t throw this out – it’s still perfectly good. Spread onto a sheet of non-stick parchment paper, allow to set, then place in a zip lock bag to store.
- The number one tip when tempering chocolate is not to get even a drop of water in the chocolate or it will be ruined.
- Secondly, don’t rush and overheat the chocolate. Low and slow is the key!
- This recipe also works with baking chocolate that doesn’t need to be tempered.
Nutritional Estimate Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.