It’s been a deliciously fun, but high-calorie, high-carb weekend. In the quest for something a little different, yet nutritious to snack on, I prepared a small batch of spicy pecans. Pecans aren’t something my family stands up and cheers about…..until I toss in chili powder and cayenne pepper to warm up their taste buds. They don’t know it, but pecans are heart healthy, rich in protein and natural antioxidants, and have been found to reduce nasty LDL (bad) cholesterol while maintaining desirable levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The added benefit is that pecans are a snack that sticks with them until dinner time.
But the best part is they smell wonderful while baking! The aroma of ancho chili peppers and Mexican oregano warms up the house on these dreary November days. If you’re thinking about gift giving, double the recipe and you’ll have enough to box up for those spicy loved ones. Once opened, your gift recipient just may thank you for their aromatic-vacation in a box.
Pecans can be stored on the counter up to 2 months. If kept longer than 2 months, they’ll need to be refrigerated or frozen. Once thawed, you can refreeze pecans with no problem.
Spicy Orange Pecans
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 60 minutes
Yields: 4 1/2 Cups
4 C. plain (not salted or toasted) pecan halves
2 Tbl. orange juice
1 large egg white
2 Tbl. fresh orange zest
1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the pecans, orange juice and egg white and toss to coat. In a small bowl, combine the orange zest, sugar, salt and spices. Add to the nuts and toss to coat evenlly. Spread in even layer on lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour (or until they appear dry), stirring every 15 minutes. Cool and store in airtight container.