Nuts are a popular treat at this time of year. They come in all shapes and sizes. It could be that collection of plain raw nuts we know so well – almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts – all still in the shell. It’s a young child’s dream to go at them with the fancy nutcracker in hand. Oh, do I ever remember that mess. Some prefer the assorted nuts that are already cleaned up, roasted and salted. And there are those that love to get fancy and dress them up with flavour. Lots of flavour.
My favourite nut is the pecan and I like them sweet and spicy. These Spicy Maple Pecans are adapted from a recipe by American chef Art Smith from his book, “Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family”. I also found a similar recipe on the blog of fellow Canadian food blogger, Julie, who posts on Dinner with Julie.
The nuts are a great party snack. They also make a very smart gift for those who appreciate gourmet and handmade. They are perfect in salads.
I am thrilled to have found my party nut. Try them. I bet you can’t stop at one.
Spicy Maple Pecans
adapted from Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family by Art Smith and Julie of Dinner with Julie
2 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, scant
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine the sugar, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Spread pecans out on a baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes. Pour the maple syrup over the nuts and stir to cover. Return to oven and roast for another 5 minutes. Stir the nuts to turn them and re-coat them with the syrup on the bottom of the baking sheet. Return them to the oven again for another 5 minutes. The syrup should be bubbling on the pecans now.
When the pecans have finished roasting in the syrup, take them out of the oven and cover with the spice mixture. Stir well to fully cover the nuts. Then pour them onto a clean baking sheet to cool completely.
They can be stored in a sealed container for up to one week.