Tag Archives: Pecans

Maple Vanilla Nut Clusters

12 Oct

I absolutely love recipes like this: easy to make, easy to clean up, perfect to whip up for a group of friends and DELICIOUS.  I already have a spiced nut recipe that I swear by, but this recipe is a game changer.  I will definitely be turning to this one when I want something a little sweeter.  I added extra pecans to the recipe since I find it hard to believe you can have too many pecans but left the amount of glaze the same and I think it turned out fantastic.

These will be great to throw together before any Fall parties you may have coming up!  And, if you’re like me and planning your Thanksgiving menu already, these would be wonderful to make a few days ahead and have sitting on the coffee table for your guests to munch on while waiting for the big event.

Maple Vanilla Nut Clusters
Slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1/4 sugar
  1. Toast nuts in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes
  2. Combine water, vanilla, maple syrup and sugar
  3. Add butter and sugar mixture to toasted nuts. Continue to heat over medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture is sticky and no longer runny (about 3 minutes)
  4. Remove from heat and spread the nuts around in the skillet.  Let sit for at least 1 hour in the pan or until cool and hardened

Lindsay, of Pinch of Yum, points out that the flavors really develop overnight, so it’s best not to chow down on it all immediately…but chow down the next day, for sure!

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Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

6 Sep


I have to admit, I was extremely hesitant about this week’s chosen recipe for Project Pastry Queen (see everyone’s results delicious results here!).  After all, I have my own secret special recipe for pecan pie and, since I was bringing this into the office for our September birthday celebration, if this recipe was a flop I did NOT want people thinking this was a version of my famous Thanksgiving pie.

But I saw that my fellow PPQ’ers loved the recipe and I decided to go for it and wouldn’t you know that this is a great recipe!  I can definitely say this though: it is RICH.  This recipe has a total of 7 cups of brown sugar in it–one cup in the crust and 6 cups in the filling.  Definitely meant to be eaten in very small portions.  I liked the addition of bourbon to it, though, and am even thinking about tweaking my own pie recipe just a touch to include it.

Just some notes about my little changes to Rebecca’s original recipe: I left out the coconut since the recipe depended on coconut for texture, not flavor, and I’ve never really loved shredded coconut’s texture.  I substituted in an extra 3/4 cup of pecans to make up for any lack of texture in the filling.  I also used strictly whole wheat flour in the crust here.  Truth be told, it was because I was afraid I would run out of white all-purpose flour before finishing my various baking projects for the day and I have to say that I think the whole wheat flour really was a great add.  It gave the crust a sweet nutty flavor that really complimented the filling instead of just being a sweet butter crust to support the filling on top of it.

This recipe makes a huge huge batch of bars, so just beware.  Also, I didn’t have the 12×17 baking dish the recipe calls for so I used my largest and second largest glass baking pans and I actually still had extra crust left over.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen bars
Adapted from The Pastry Queen

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour (white all-purpose flour can be used instead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 8 large eggs
  • 6 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups pecan halves

To Make Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12×17″ glass baking pan (or whatever smaller glass pans you have on hand).
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl on medium speed for 1 minute.  Add the sugar to the butter and beat 1 minute, until fluffy.
  3. Add flour and salt, mix on low speed until evenly incorporated but still crumbly.
  4. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan(s).  I made sure not to let the crust get over 1/4 of an inch, which is why I had leftover crust mixture even after 2 pans.  I’d rather have more filling than crust in the end, wouldn’t you?
  5. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until it has darkened to a deep golden brown.
  6. Leave the oven set on 350 degrees while you make the filling.

To Make Filling

  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended.
  2. Stir in the bourbon, butter, vanilla, flour and salt until blended.
  3. Stir in pecan halves.
  4. Pour the filling over the crust(s).
  5. Bake until the center is set and doesn’t wobble anymore, about 25-30 minutes.
  6. Cool thoroughly, at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Between my two different pans, I baked one until it was fully set and one until it was mostly set but still a little jiggly when I took it out.  I preferred the one that was baked longer, as the jiggly one was a bit more oozy and less solid than the ones pictured above.  It’s up to you, though!

Rum-Glazed Spiced Pecans

28 Jun


So you’re throwing a 4th of July BBQ and you want some small munchies for guests to nibble on instead of the typical celery and carrot sticks with onion dip.  These pecans are your answer!  They’re supremely easy to quickly toss together, so they won’t add any extra stress to your party day planning.  I was annoyed that I had to go out and buy a whole bottle of dark rum just for the recipe’s 1 tablespoon, but I’m glad for it now because I make this recipe quite frequently and I warn you, you’ll experience the same: once you put these out, they won’t last long, so make a double batch.

Rum-Glazed Spiced Pecans
improved upon from Cooks Illustrated
Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups raw pecan halves (8 ounces) (at my grocery store this means a 1 1/2 cup bag plus a tiny 1/2 cup bag, which never fails to annoy me, esp since the tiny bag’s nuts are always pulverized instead of the “pecan halves” advertised)
  • Spice Mix
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, ground so that needles are in small pieces
  • Rum Glaze
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread pecans in even layer.  Toast 3 minutes, shake pan to redistribute nuts, and continue to toast until fragrant and color deepens slightly, about 3 minutes longer.   I personally prefer slightly less toasted pecans, but you can toast them to your heart’s desire, of course.  Transfer cookie sheet with nuts to wire rack.
  2. For the spice mix: While nuts are toasting, stir together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and rosemary in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. For the glaze: Bring rum, vanilla, brown sugar, and butter to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly–I am serious about the MEDIUM sized saucepan: the first few times I made this recipe I always decided, “well, it’s just a small amount of ingredients, I’ll use a small saucepan” and then I get to the next step and have to transfer the mixture to a bigger pot, cursing myself for forgetting AGAIN to follow instructions as written.
  4. Pour in the toasted pecans, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until nuts are shiny, which takes just a couple minutes; there should be no syrup left anywhere in the pan but on the nuts.
  5. Transfer glazed pecans to bowl with spice mix; toss well to coat. Return glazed and spiced pecans to parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool (can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days).
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