The months of November and December are also the time where one needs a quick and easy little something to bring to that feast. I think written somewhere there is an official rule that you can’t show up to a party empty handed, right? A little jar of cocktail snack treats is just what you need to win the hearts of hostesses everywhere.
I know it has been a little quiet ’round these parts but I’ve had a few too many failed dessert attempts emerge from my oven over the past week or so and I will admit that my baking mojo is low. I needed to ease my way back into the saddle so hello there toasty pecans!
These bad boys are the sort of cocktail snack that your Grandma would make – that is – if your Grandma added espresso power for some major depth in flavor and a pinch of cayenne spice for a hint of heat. If this describes your Grandma, I would love to meet her and talk cocktail snacks.
The added kicker is that these nuts are tossed in sugar when they are still warm from the oven so you get sweet and savory spice in every bite of toasty pecan goodness. I would recommend making a double batch of these buddies because you never know what invitation you will have to accept during these months and you sure don’t want to break the rules by showing up empty handed.
Toasty Pecans with Sweet and Savory Spice
Makes about 2 cups
Inspired by The Kitchn
2 cups (8 ounces or 227 grams) raw pecan halves
3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard powder
tabasco to taste (I used about 6 dashes)
For the final toss:
1 teaspoon of sugar
Preheat oven to 300 and line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.
In a medium bowl stir together the melted butter, sugar, worcestershire, salt, cinnamon, espresso powder, cayenne, and ground mustard until combined. Add the pecans and use a spatula to toss them until the nuts are all evenly coated in the spiced butter mixture.
Bake at 300 for 25 minutes, stirring several times as they cook, then increase the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until toasty but keep a close eye on them and be careful not to let them burn. Transfer nuts to a medium bowl and toss with the additional teaspoon of sugar.
Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container for several weeks.
Note: The amount of spice listed in this recipe will yield a final pecan that one friend said tastes like “a pecan with spice, not an overload of spice that happens to be the coating on a pecan”. This, I love, as I prefer the pecan flavor to shine whilst enjoying a cocktail side-by-side with said snack. However if you tend to gravitate towards things on the crazier side and like to go nuts* then I would double the amount of dry spices – minus salt – that go into the mix (i.e. double the sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder, cayenne and mustard) as listed above.
*Pardon the pun but I couldn’t resist.