5 December 2014

It's Been Nuts Around Here

A busy summer of outdoor projects, a busy fall of hurrying to complete outdoor projects, the death of a laptop... but the snow has returned and so have we.  Just in time for edible gifting season!

Simple ingredients + simple recipe = biggest hit at your office holiday potluck.

Spicy Praline Pecans

(this is a super easy recipe, which is good because after you accidentally eat the entire first batch you can quickly make them again for gifting)

3 to 5 c. pecan halves*
1 egg white, beaten until slightly frothy
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
Go on, mix it with your hands. No more dirty dishes than necessary.
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

*the larger the pecan, the lower the surface-area-to-volume ratio, so the larger the pecans, the more volume you can coat... use your judgement or if I've confused you, start with 3 cups and if you have too much coating add more**

**if you add more, you will want a second egg white so you can coat the nuts in egg before tossing with the sugar mixture

Pre-heat oven to 325F.  Line one large or two medium baking trays with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the pecans with the beaten egg white until all nuts are well coated.

Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly in a small mixing bowl.  Pour over the pecans and mix until evenly coated.  Don't be afraid to use your hands for the mixing.

Spread the pecan mixture over the baking tray(s) and bake for 25 minutes, stirring to turn them after 15 minutes.

Slide the parchment and nuts onto a cooling rack. Let cool well before you snag one to taste it, otherwise you will burn your mouth.  Let cool completely before storage. 

Store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container.

The finished praline pecans are sweet, spicy, crunchy and totally moreish.


A note about the nuts:  Yes, 1 whole teaspoon of ground cayenne is a lot of cayenne.  If you lick your fingers after mixing the nuts and coating, it will taste very hot.  (I know, I know, raw egg panic and all that.  Don't lick your fingers if it bothers you.)  Some of the heat gets lost in the baking, which is why you need so much cayenne... the whole point is for there to be some heat behind the sweetness.  Trust me.  If you are making these for gifting***, wrap them up as soon as they are completely cool because you will otherwise find that it is impossible to stop eating them.  If you're feeling full of holiday bonhomie, try your hand at sugarplums and eggnog fudge for a fantastic gift trio.

***Make them for gifting for sure; these will make you very popular.  I'm torn about what to advise you now though because people will ask for the recipe.  My instinct is to say don't give it to them and protect your gift-giving-god status... on the other hand I really really would prefer you sent them to the blog...

Man, have we missed blogging.  But the Fence Project (phase I) is complete, the Window Restoration Project (phase I) is one storm frame installation away from being done, and the dead laptop has been replaced. Our white board has a list a mile long of good foods to document.  We've got a big long delicious winter ahead...


  1. I can't wait and will be licking my fingers with impunity ;)

    1. We are going to have to make ANOTHER batch because it's nearly impossible to stop eating them.


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