At the start of college football season I was inspired to make spiced nuts to serve at parties and to package for Christmas gifts. It became an every-game-day endeavor to perfect this party snack, and then on Mondays I enlisted my friends at Martha Turner Properties and Relax Station to taste test my weekend experiments. I consulted Cook’s Illustrated and Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for the best methods and created my own signature spice mix. This is my recipe: Preheat oven to 350* and brush cookie sheet lightly with canola oil. Spread 2 cups pecan halves on cookie sheet; bake for 4 minutes; rotate cookie sheet on oven rack; bake for another 4 minutes. While pecans are toasting, prepare sugar glaze and spice mix. For sugar glaze, melt and whisk together: 2 Tbs water; 1 Tbs butter; 1 tsp brown sugar. For spice mix, grind together with mortar & pestle or spice grinder: 1 Tbs sugar; 1 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt; 1/4 tsp Alspaugh’s Secret Seasonings*; 1/4 tsp cinnamon; 1/4 tsp rosemary; 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper; 1/8 tsp cumin; 1/8 tsp garlic powder. Transfer toasted pecans to mixing bowl; pour sugar glaze over pecans and toss to coat evenly; sprinkle spice mix over glazed pecans and toss to coat evenly; spread pecans back on cookie sheet to cool completely. When pecans are completely cooled, package in cellophane bags and tie with big ribbons in your favorite team’s or Christmas colors. *Alspaugh’s Secret Seasonings is sold at the local Alspaugh’s ACE Hardware. This is the best hardware store ever because they have an old-fashioned popcorn maker and a “lady’s section” with everything from Vera Bradley baby to traditional bridal registry. I thought to try their house seasoning on my spiced pecans because they set out a shaker to salt your free bag of popcorn. If you don’t have access to this Kingwood regional blend, substitute your favorite BBQ rub.
Lanie’s Spiced Pecans