i'm bummed to have just wasted 2 cups of perfectly good nuts, but pleased that i came out on the other end with my own recipe and method for exactly what i wanted.
backing up: i wanted sweet nuts (like you'd put on a salad), and wanted to make them myself. i went on allrecipes and searched "candied pecans", found the recipe with the most positive reviews, and after i'd made a half batch (2 cups chopped nuts- i used 1 cup pecans and 1 cup walnuts) that the recipe was actually for something like divinity. it's delicious, but it's not at all what i was looking for. so, i heated up my skillet, quickly whisked together 1/3 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of water, several dashes of salt, and several dashes of cinnamon. i stirred until everything was well coated and started to smell like delicious pecans:), and turned it out onto a greased cookie sheet to cool. voila, exactly what i wanted!
if you're curious, the nuts are going to coat another new recipe: gorgonzola and cranberry cheese ball! it came to me in a vision. the cheese ball is going to be half cream cheese, half gorgonzola, chopped dried cranberries, and it will all be rolled in the sweet nuts. i'm making that along with my mom's cranberry chutney today for Thanksgiving. and tomorrow is baking day! i'll be making a pecan pie (2 if i have enough nuts left... the thought of facing the grocery at this point of holiday madness is terrifying), 2 eggnog pumpkin pies, and a no-bake triple layer mud pie.
edited to add: i ended up popping the nuts into the oven at 300 for about 10 minutes, just to dry them out. they were a little too sticky before but the oven made them just about perfect!