Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aww, Nuts.

Are you putting together little baskets of goodies for friends and neighbors this holiday?  Let me show you 2 easy pecan recipes that can easily be made, bagged and ready for giving in no time at all.
{OR, keep them around your house for snacking and unexpected guests!}

Both of these recipes call for pecans.  I have a soft spot in my heart for pecans.  Years ago, we lived in a little old house in the suburbs of Dallas.  I think every tree on our street had at least 1 big, beautiful pecan tree.  We had two in our front yard.

Our first fall in the house, I noticed a few pecans on the ground, but most were still up in the tree...and I wasn't sure what to do about that.  So, I grabbed our big stepladder and a broom...and started beating the branches of the tree.  {Yes. I did.} 

After about 10 minutes, the retired gentleman who lived next-door came outside and said, "Honey, they'll come down when they're ready."

And that's my pecan story.
On to the recipes....we have one sweet and one savory.  The sweet are cinnamon-y, sugary, and addictive...pretty much your diet's worst nightmare.  The savory are spicy and smoky with just a hint of sweet....they're best munched on while enjoying a beer. ;)

Sugar & Spice Pecans
{adapted from this little paper pecan cookbook out of Amarillo}

1 cup sugar
2 & 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
5 TBSP water
3 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon and water.  Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Continue cooking until the syrup reached 230 degrees on a candy thermometer...or until it makes a heavy thread.

Stir in the pecans and vanilla.  Remove from heat.  Continue stirring until the mixture turns from syrup to sugar.

Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment to cool.


Lone Star Pecans
{from The New Texas Cuisine, Stephan Pyles}

2 TBSP unsalted butter
3 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons chile powder***
1 TBSP cumin
1/4 cup cider vinegar
coarse salt

***look for a "pure" chile powder, most regular powders contain onion & garlic powder...we don't want that.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment; set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the pecans and cook about 3 minutes.  Add the brown sugar, stir and cook until lightly caramelized.  Stir in the paprika, chile powder and cumin.  Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated.  Season with coarse salt.
Spread the pecans on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Cool completely before bagging.

Are you putting together baskets or boxes of Christmas goodies this year?  I want to know what's in them! 
{'Cause I'm nosy like that.}

41 comments:

  1. Oh I could eat those sweet ones all myself, no gift giving here !

    ReplyDelete
  2. YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM! Great combos! I have a bunch I'm going to be roasting. They will be gone in no time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have everything I need to make the sweet ones! Thanks for the great idea :o)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yum, Bridget! I'm making pecan balls, chocolate crinkles, peanut clusters, decorated sugar cookies, spiced nuts, and your holiday popcorn. If I get any more time, I should make these. My dad would LOVE these. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love nuts of any kind...these both look delicious. I think I'd have a hard time giving them away :).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wish I was making these but baking is done....white chocolate apricot biscotti, cake balls, cake pops, decorated cookies, white trash and my special caramel corn (not your usual caramel corn). And of course, lots of love! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love flavoured nuts! These sound so yummy :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm lazy! The way I prepare sweet pecans is... pour 1/3 cup Maple Syrup in a skillet and heat it up good. When hot add 2 cups Pecans and constantly stir them around until they've absorbed all the syrup. When all the syrup has been absorbed, pour the pecans out on parchment paper and spread them out. Let dry. I'm sure you could add some cinnamon, but it is amazing how good these are just as they are. Super simple! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These look delicious, I wouldn't mind getting a bag of pecans like these. I am almost finishing putting together baskets of treats for my friends, coworkers and my daughter's teachers. I have made chocolate fudge, oreo truffles,linzer cookies, chocolate milk cookies,eggnog cheesecake bars and sugar cookies.
    Happy Holidays Bridget, looking forward to keep reading your blog next year.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These look delicious! I wish my husbands co workers didn't have nut allergies, I would totally be making these :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Those pecans look AMAZING. I have a special soft spot for pecans. My mom is allergic to walnuts so growing up all we had in the house was pecans. Any recipe that had walnuts was replaced by it's cousin, the pecan. I have grown so used to the flavor that I get confused when I eat a walnut!

    For my holiday baskets, there is cinnamon-almond biscotti, two kinds of roasted almonds, peppermint bark, and homemade almond joys. (the last are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to keep around. I keep them in the fridge in the basement so I'm not tempted!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. The sweet ones look especially good to me!!! Yummy!!

    And I totally would have been beating the tree too...while wearing a hard hat and crying because I'm scared of standing on a ladder.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yum! My grandmother made the sweet pecans every year. I haven't had them since she's been gone over 5 years now. I think I'm going to have to make them now.

    My Christmas tins include chocolate crinkles, pound cake cookies, peanut butter/chocolate fudge, and peanut blossoms. (Can you tell my family loves peanut butter?)

    ReplyDelete
  14. roasted and sweet nuts (from the mall especially...the kind that are just so tricky to duplicate at home but I try anyway)...well, they are the best.


    these look delish!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Do you think I could substitute almonds in lieu of pecans?

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm making a big gift basket of treats for my boyfriends parents this year! English toffee, chocolate mint truffles, white chocolate lemon truffles and sea-salt and caramel topped shortbread. I tried to cover all the categories of sweets. let's hope their teeth don't fall out!

    ReplyDelete
  17. your story made me laugh and smile at the same time. growing up, we used to have a pecan tree in our front yard and would love picking them when they fell. i never bought pecans until i was married and it just made me appreciate that tree even more. happy holidays bridget...your blog is always a source of inspiration.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  18. im making baskets with mini frosted brownie cups and cookies. Gingerbread, thumbprint, peanut butter, chocolate chip, lemon and strawberry cake mix cookies.. not to mention im giving out a few cakes...ive ben bakig since monday and probably won't be done until friday or saturday

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am so excited to try these...and not to give out but to eat myself!! Love love love this! I made your butterbeer cookies, gingerbread cookies, and spiced orange sugar cookies for the neighbors. I ate alot of them but gave some of them out too :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. That little old man story is SO cute! hahaha! I've never even seen a pecan tree in my life, so I'm pretty jealous of the great multitudes that you had. Also, these pecans look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I could eat all of those myself!!!

    too funny about the tree!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, I need to get my mom to bring some pecans from Texas when she comes for the holidays!

    We already passed out our goody bags to friends and neighbors - Bakerella's gingerbread heads, homemade vanilla extract and your sweet popcorn. We may be the most popular house in the neighborhood!

    Merry Christmas and thanks for killing my diet this year! There's always 2012 to lose weight!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have been giving away little treats in bags. Our bus driver likes them the best so he has been receiving one of everything I've been making. I will be making a basket for my sister in California. She will be surprised!

    ReplyDelete
  24. My family loves pecans too! These recipes look good. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. We're doing handmade good for most family members. Their goodie baskets include a combination of infused olive oils, herbed butter, vanilla, sundried tomatoes, and chocolate bark.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lol! Love your pecan story. Seriously though, I have an obsession with pecans, like whenever I buy them for baking I end up eating the rest of the bag (plain) after I've used the recipe. I'm one of those people who buy the shelled one and crack and eat them every spare moment I have. I was just looking for a candied pecan recipe yesterday. Hope to make these soon. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  27. OMY!! I'am not a nut person but they sure look deliciously good.

    Catarina

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love your blog! I made the peppermint popcorn crunch that you posted the other day and it turned out great! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. Merry christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Love nuts- pecans and walnuts most of all! I just finished with my holiday cookie baking for gift giving. Fourteen varieties of cookies this year- double batches of each one... My husband did the math- more than 1,400 cookies baked in one week... You may regret asking but here is my list: Mexican wedding cookies, thumbprint cookies, Creme De mint cookies, nut tassies, rum balls, kitchen sink cookies, pignoli cookies, forgotten cookies, almond/cranberry biscotti, chocolate/walnut biscotti, peanut blossoms- all of these with nuts. Plus "nutless" but still good :) eggnog sugar cookies, spritz cookies, Italian wedding cookies... Yes, you can say I am just a tad obsessed with cookie making. LOL
    Love your blog! Thanks for the great recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Mmmm, both of these look delicious. I want to try both of them.

    I have chili powder from Penzey's - the ingredients are Ancho chili pepper, cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano. I'm going to try them with that.

    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  31. How wonderful to have had a pecan tree in your yard! Love the ladder and broom story.

    Both of these recipes sound wonderful. I'm normally one to just grab raw pecans by the handfuls and pop them in my mouth. I love them like that but I'm definitely going to try both of these recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Nice bokeh and love the 2nd from last shot where the mixing bowl is filling most of the frame. And of course the pecans looks great too!

    ReplyDelete
  33. My goodie baskets have pretzel toffee bark, dipped oreos and caramel filled chocolates in them.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I ALWAYS run out of time for all the treats I want to make. I made decorated cookies, gingerbread men, chocolate covered pretzels and Oreos. Had to skip the linzer and eggnog cookies and nuts this year :/ But thanks for the awesome recipes. They'll top the list next year for sure!!!! Happy holidays to all...

    ReplyDelete
  35. I made under an hour whole wheat bread for everyone http://burntapple.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/whole-wheat-bread-and-cinnamon-butter/, your homemade poptart recipe and gingerbread playdough. http://burntapple.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/gingerbread-playdough/

    ReplyDelete
  36. OMGOOOOODNESSSSS!!!! I can not wait to try this! I am going to crack open that bag of pecans that I bought from Costco tonight and try these sweet ones! My dad LOVES pecans! And I will be sure to add this to his gifts! :)
    Thanks so much for sharing! I adore your blog, it's wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I love pecans, but I don't think I'd know a pecan tree even if it was right in front of me! Thanks for including your pecan story:)
    Hooray for sweet AND savory recipes!
    Merry Christmas, Bridget!

    ReplyDelete
  38. The Lone Star Pecans Look so good --and gluten free too!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Perfect timing! I need to make sweetened pecans for the Raspberry/Goat Cheese salad I'm making for Christmas dinner. This will work great. THanks!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
(Comments, especially on busy giveaways, may take a minute to show...thank you for your patience.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Pin It button on image hover