It all started when I shared a link to this gorgeous Detox Salad with kale and walnuts by my friend Julia on the Healthy Seasonal Recipes Facebook page. Other than the fact that I love that salad, and the post got many more than my usual two impressions, I didn’t give it much thought.
But then I got a voicemail from my Grandfather. He sounded a bit urgent, and he told me I should call Jheri, that’s his wife, my step grandmother. That’s odd. She hasn’t been well, so I was immediately concerned. In fact wasn’t she in the hospital?
Then I got another voicemail. This one was from Jheri. Within the 48 seconds it took to listen to the message I went from scared to smiling. Jheri, who had just been in surgery the day before but sounded like she was well enough to come to my bodypump class, was calling me about my Facebook post. She was very concerned that I was giving a shout out to a salad with walnuts. She wanted to make sure that I knew that I should be using pecans.
You see Grampa and Jheri live in West Texas where there is a lot of dust, oil rigs and pecan trees. And Jheri is in the business of pecans. She asked how many pounds she should ship me, “One or five pounds?” I am no fool, and I do not look gift horses in the mouth. So I told her I was in desperate need of “five pounds of pecans please, and I think Grampa has my address.”
That was only at the end of summer, and I am already down to my last pound and a half. In addition to these gf praline bundtlettes I shared last week, I have been using them for all sorts of recipes. Pecans and maple syrup happen to be a match made in heaven, and the other three and a half pounds have woven their way into many recipe tests for my cookbook. And I have been toasting them for snacks too.
Then there is the Recipe Redux. This months Recipe Redux is all about Spooky Spice.
Confession, I am not afraid of any of my spices. I love that weird health food store bulk jar unpronounceable stuff. But I am afraid of recipes that take a really long time to make. Since I am in the weeds, that is about as scary as it gets. Like for example, Mexican mole sauce terrifies me, since it takes hours and days to make. So I thought I would do a little Southwest meets Vermont/mole sauce inspired spiced nut recipe. I’d use my West Texas pecans and some pure Vermont Maple Syrup.
Thankfully, these nuts only take 10 minutes of effort (8 actually.) They have a bit of chili powder, a bit of chipotle powder and some cocoa powder too. I sweetened them with Vermont maple syrup. But since maple syrup has invert sugar, the sweet hot coating was too sticky, even after it cooled off, so I had to add some brown sugar to make them set up. And you would probably make Jheri’s day if you liked her pecan business on facebook.
Spiced pecans with cocoa, chipotle and chili powder for a gift from the kitchen or appetizer. Gluten-free and only 20 minutes to make.
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, dark or amber, preferably golden or amber
- 2 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Stir brown sugar, maple syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Add pecans, cocoa, chili, chipotle and salt and stir to coat. Spread the nuts out on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake until the cocoa mixture is bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir nuts and continue baking until the nuts are sticky and the maple mixture is coating them, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Let cool.