Tag Archives: pecans

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Why hello easy, delicious, make-ahead appetizer!  You’re the perfect crunch that’s not quite sweet, not quite savory and yet completely addictive.  I think I love you.

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Another recipe from the Holiday Appetizer Buffet in Vegan Holiday Kitchen, these pecans were coveted by party guests at this year’s New Year’s Eve party.  Holiday parties are super fun, but happen when you’re most busy and stressed.  This nice little appetizer is the first guest to invite.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup (I used maple!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.

Combine the maple syrup with cinnamon, chili powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

combine maple with spices

Stir in the pecans to coat them evenly.  (Ack!  What possessed me to think stirring with my whisk was a good idea?!  The pecans got all caught in there….Just use a spoon.  Really.)

add pecans

Spread coated pecans in a 9×9, aluminum foil-lined baking pan, or an aluminum pan if you have one.

spread in aluminum pan

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until pecans are nicely glazed and toasted.  (This is a departure from the original recipe which says to heat oven to 250F and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.  My location is considered high altitude, and the original temp and time didn’t result in a crunchy glaze for me.)

Let cool and break apart any clumps.  Serve in a pretty dish.

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I wasn’t sure I liked the ginger in these at first–I thought it was a bit too floral.  However, something about the spice combo makes these super addictive.  If you have any leftover after the party, store in an air-tight container and then count out how many you plan to eat as a snack.  Reseal the container.  If you don’t follow this advice, you may end up eating all that are left.  Not that I’d know. 😉

These would be super-delish garnishing a spring spinach and strawberry salad.  Yummmmmm!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Suzi’s Ginger Cake

We live out in the country on a small acreage near friends on adjoining properties; we call it the commune.  🙂  The space gives us privacy, but because we’re all friends, we have a neighborhood where you can stop over for a visit, share a meal and get help with projects.  One neighbor family is vegan–they inspired us to be vegan, too.  Occasionally, we get together for great food, wine and laughs.  The other night, Suzi (she who is the best vegan baker of the whole commune) baked the most amazing ginger cake for dessert.  Suzi made her cake in a 9″ square pan, and I made one the very next day in a bundt pan.   Moist and light.  Perfectly spiced, topped with a mapley glaze and pecans.  Decadent.

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The recipe is from one of our favorite vegan blogs, The FatFree Vegan.  (So, yeah–this cake is nearly fat-free as well!)  Grab some applesauce and spices and get ready for ginger-liscious nirvana.

ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized (candied) ginger, chopped small (about 3/4 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly oil a bundt pan or a 9″ square pan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

mix dry

Add the applesauce, vanilla, and lemon juice and stir just enough to combine.

add wet

Pour into the oiled pan.  My mom bought me this bundt pan in the early 80s.  I love its classic “harvest gold” color and faithful non-stick finish.

pour into greased pan

Bake 45-60 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean.  My cake was perfectly baked in 45 minutes.

bake til pick comes out clean

While the cake bakes, make the glaze.

glaze ingredients

  •  1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch ginger powder
  • Additional candied ginger or pecans for serving (optional)

Whisk cornstarch and ginger into the maple syrup in a small pan over medium heat.

whisk glaze

Heat to boiling and boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.

Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan and then serve or tip it out onto a plate.  This cake stand is from my mom’s milk glass collection; it makes a cake look extra pretty.  Pour glaze over the cake and allow to drip down the sides.

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Slice and top with pecans or candied ginger.

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Savor each tender spicy bite.  You deserve a treat, especially when that treat is under 250 calories and has only 5 grams of fat. (Based on 9 servings per cake.  Skipping the maple glaze saves 25 calories per serving.)

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Celine’s Spiced Pecans

These pecans are a holiday staple in my family.  After Mom and Dad moved to New Mexico, they met a pecan grower in the area around Deming.  A bag of shelled pecans could be expected to arrive here just after Thanksgiving, and then just before Christmas, I’d get a call from Mom asking if I’d made “The Pecans” yet.  Mom served these at every Christmas open house, and shared the recipe with lots of people.  She had a cute story of one friend who loved them, but had decided to never make them again because they were too tedious and time-consuming to make.  This baffled Mom, so she asked why.  The friend had dipped each individual pecan in egg white and then hand-coated the dipped pecan in the cinnamon sugar mix!  I can still hear Mom’s “Ha!” after sharing that story.  🙂 

Anyway, this week I made “The Pecans” because my sister wanted a bread pudding recipe, and I always use them in that recipe.  Look how cute they look in one of my new little birdie bowls!

Beware, these can be addictive….and you really don’t need to dip and coat the pecans individually!

  • 1 egg white + 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pound shelled pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.  Line a jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides) with parchment paper or a silicon baking liner.

Place cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Seal and shake/swirl to mix.

Place egg white and water in a large bowl.  Beat until frothy.

Add pecans to the bowl and stir to coat.

Place coated pecans in the ziploc with the cinnamon mixture.  Shake/swirl to coat pecans evenly.

Pour onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes; give ’em a good stir after 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir again.  Cool in the pan.  Be careful if you decide to sample before they’re completely cool….not that I do this.  Well, maybe I ALWAYS do this.

 

Crispy, crunchy, spicy, a little sweet with a hint of saltiness, “The Pecans” are a perfect holiday buffet sort of yummy, a lovely addition to a platter of cookies, and are also perfect for gifting. 

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Perfect Bread Pudding

I have to thank my sister for this post.  (Thanks Sissy!)  This week, she texted me for a bread pudding recipe.  I hadn’t made this in ages, but thought she’d enjoy the recipe with pictures, ala Somethin’ Yummy, rather than an emailed recipe.  So happy she asked, because now I have a whole muffin tin full of perfectly portioned bread puddings that filled the house with the yummy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.

I had everything I needed:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups 1/2″ day-old bread cubes
  • 1 cup chopped/crumbled spiced pecans (Mom’s recipe–to be blogged soon!) or pralines

Wisk eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla together.

Wisk in cream and milk.

Fold in bread cubes and pecans.

Tap floating bread cubes with a spoon to submerge them as much as possible into the custard.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously butter the 12 wells of a muffin tin with 1 TBSP butter.

Spoon bread and custard evenly into the 12 wells.

Bake for 30-35 minutes; until the centers are firm.

Serve with a spoonful or two or three of melted vanilla ice cream.  If you want to be all fancy, call this melted ice cream Creme Anglaise.  (They are essentially the same thing!)  The tops are crisp, the centers creamy and soft and yummy, with a lovely pecan crunch.

Michael and I enjoyed the fresh, slightly tart flavor of red raspberries with the yummy just-sweet-enough, cinnamon-y bread pudding.  I’m also loving the perfect portions created using the muffin tin; just enough to have that comfort food pampering, not enough to sabotage the efforts to eat more healthily.

I think just a bit of butterscotch or caramel sauce would also be yummy…or a scoop of ice cream….or strawberries….or with a late harvest riesling….or maybe just a quick zap in the microwave later for a midnight snack!  Hope you enjoy these, Sonia–did you notice Aunt Katrine’s plates?!  ❤

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Twice-Baked Sweet Taters

I never met a sweet potato I didn’t like.  Well, now that I’m a grown-up, not so much likin’ the kind with marshmallow.  But any of the rest?  Yup, pretty much love them all so far.  My new fav?  Twice-baked.  With tangy goat cheese.  And crunchy pecan topping.  Ohhhh yeaaahhhh.  (Original recipe from Everyday Food Magazine.)

Simple yet fancy.  Quick enough for a weeknight.

For the potato part:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skin on
  • 2 oz fresh chevre (I bought smoked chevre by mistake–awesome!  I make them with smoked chevre all the time now!)
  • 1 TBSP butter, room temperature
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 TBSP finely chopped fresh chives

For the topping:

  • 1/8 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 cup panko (or unflavored breadcrumbs)
  • 1 TBSP butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375F.  Scrub sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork.

Wrap taters in foil–separately or individually.  Bake until tender, about and hour.

When cool enough to handle, cut in half long ways and scoop out all but 1/4-inch of the flesh, creating shells.  Arrange in a pan.

Place scooped-out tater flesh, chevre, butter, salt and pepper in a food processor.  Process until smooth.

Add chives, pulse to blend.

Divide tater mixture evenly among shells.

Mix the topping.

Divide topping evenly over taters.

Bake until topping is golden, 10-12 minutes.

Serve up as a side to a yummy sandwich or as your Thanksgiving sweet potato dish! 

After the first time I made these, I was thinking the smoky, tanginess from the chevre along with the pecan and sweet potato flavors were calling for a drizzle of smoky-sweet maple syrup.  If you’re game, give it a try…I did today with a left over tater, warm from the microwave.  Really, really yummy!

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