As winter and winter holidays come upon us, the time for having handy snacks and appetizers is here. One of my sons popped out of the shower this morning to ask if he smelled cinnamon rolls. Nope, these were pecans with a light glaze and lovely cinnamon roll spices.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe at cooksillustrated.com for warm-spiced pecans with rum glaze; however, I wanted something a little easier with measurements (anyone have an 1/8th teaspoon measure?), a little easier with timing, and a little more like cinnamon roll filling flavor, with no rum. Rum is great in hot-buttered rums, but not on pecans. It’s not a flavor my kids really like.
These are really simple to make:
- Roast the pecans
- Prep the spice mix
- Prep the glaze
- Put pecans in the glaze, and then the mix.
A little side note – I was curious as to the difference between roasting and baking since these are solid, like a meat or veg, but lower temperature. It seems that most agree that roasting is high heat (400+ F), and usually done on something that is solid like meat or veg and baking is lower heat (375 F or lower), not an open flame, and for making cookies and cakes. Most people don’t bake at say, 390 F so I’ll ignore the numbers in between at the moment 🙂 These nuts don’t really fit either, but I think they’re closer to roasting because they already have a shape; it’s not transforming a batter or dough into a new shape with baking.
Back to the nuts; they’re waiting…
2 c. (8 oz, 225 g) raw pecans
Warm spice mix
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher or coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp brown sugar (dark or light is fine)
- 1 Tbsp soy-free Earth Balance (or butter if you can have that, or whatever butter substitute you use)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C), rack in the middle position.
- Line a griddle pan or cookie sheet with parchment and pour nuts in an even layer onto the pan.
- Bake 5 min, stir, and bake 5 min more. The nuts should be slightly darker than originally and have a nutty aroma.
- Let the nuts cool a bit while you prep:
- mix together the warm spice mix ingredients in a bowl
- melt butter with brown sugar in a saucepan (or microwave together); then add the vanilla.
- Add the nuts to the hot glaze; mix together.
- Add the now-glazed nuts to the spice mix; mix together.
For steps 4-6, you have the option of prepping so you can move the nuts from one station to the next or prepping in 2 small bowls and just have a different bowl ready for the nuts. I do the former, using bowls big enough to just move nuts from one station to the next.
If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I highly recommend getting one. It could make the difference between browned nuts and burnt ones. Also, get to know your oven and calibrate it if possible. If not, don’t worry about it, just use an oven thermometer to learn your oven’s behavior. For example, I have to keep an eye on my oven thermometer for longer bakes because it’s erratic and will go 50+ degrees higher than what it’s set for, but for short bakes, if I want 350 F, I preheat it to 325 F.
And don’t wait too long to have some. They disappear fast…