Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl using a handheld egg beater or a wire whisk until foamy. (No liquid should remain.) Add pecans, stirring until evenly coated.
Add pecans to sugar mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Place pecans in a single layer on a buttered 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
Bake at 275° for 50 to 55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread immediately in a single layer on wax paper; cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
*Whole almonds or walnut halves may be substituted.