Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spiced Pecans

I've been working from my mom's house all week, camping out at her kitchen table and watching the snow fall. I've had my coffee, my NPR, and my neat little piles: a tiny red notebook to jot down ideas, a small address book (I'm always meaning to write more letters), a copy of the book catalog, a bound galley, and lists. Lots and lots of lists.

Yesterday I decided to abandon the lists. Baking sounded indulgent; relaxing; vacation-like. I made my neat little piles of spices, and prepared to roast some nuts.

Spiced nuts scream southern hospitality. They are perfect to wrap up for little hostess gifts or have on hand in case people stop by unexpectedly. I like them best with a glass of bubbly, but I like anything best with a glass of bubbly.

This recipe is nothing fancy, or hard, but it made me feel productive, like I was doing something worthy of a big fat mark of accomplishment. Shortly after I pulled the fragrant nuts from the oven, all hell broke loose. I spent hours on the telephone with my agent. The knots in my neck tied themselves into ever deeper coils. I thought about throwing something across the room.

Instead when my stomach screamed, I grabbed a handful of nuts and poured myself a very large glass of wine. These kicky, spicy, savory, bits totally hit the spot, even if I did feel like a 1950s angst filled writer, noshing away on salty nuts and pink wine before 5PM.

Later, my mom baked me brownies and served them warm with melty vanilla ice cream. But that's a whole other story.

Spiced Pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
5 cups pecan halves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and brown sugar. Toss pecans with melted butter and spices till nuts are well coated. Spread the pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, until fragrant. Stir, than toast 5 to 7 minutes more. 


Jess said...

I made some spiced nuts recently, too. It was a nice break from all of the beating, whipping, and rolling that goes on this time of year.

Michelle said...

I make these every year! I love them! I think I will make them for my cookie swap on Saturday.

dana said...

Those look like such a yummy holiday snack!