cinnamon and spice candied pecans

I’ve made six batches of candied pecans in the past two days, through which this Alton Brown recipe morphed and changed to meet my mothers taste in spicy-yet-sweet pecans. This final version contains a fully toasted nut, a pretty deep collection of spice with a smoky kick to it, and a caramel-y coating that seals it all together. It’s definitely inspired by the above recipe, but following that one resulted in under seasoned pecans that I can’t suggest.

These are a good make ahead gift *cough cough wedding prep* and make the house smell amazing so would be a great appetizer. If you aren’t eating them right away, be sure to pack away into as airtight a container as you can find after they dry – humid weather is your enemy (I mean it always is really, but especially in regards to candy). If you need them to dry faster or they come out a little wetter than you’d like, let them dry out in the oven at about 175 on a sheet try for about 30-45 minutes.

cinnamon and spice candied pecans

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp – 1 tsp cayenne pepper (you will feel the heat from this, so adjust to your taste!)

1 tsp salt

1 lb or 3.4 c pecan halves

5 tbs butter, cut into pieces

1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)

2 tbs water

  • prep all your ingredients before putting anything on the stove – when this recipe starts going it gets fast, and you don’t have time to be cutting your butter! Also lay out a long strip of parchment paper on a stable flat surface, you’ll lay your pecans here to dry
  • in a large (like seriously, as big as you have) cast iron skillet over medium heat, begin toasting your nuts. They’ll start to smell like warm pecans and that’s when you know it’s time to move on – but remember, nuts burn fast so as soon as you start to smell it begin the next step, the nuts will keep toasting
  • sprinkle in your spice mixture (that you already mixed together in a bowl, remember) and stir through the nuts. The spices will also begin to toast, and you’ll be able to smell it. This is where you have to start moving quickly
  • once you can smell the spices, add in your butter pieces and stir through until melted and coating all the pecans
  • add in your brown sugar and stir to coat
  • the sugar will have begun to melt, but to help it coat the pecans you want to add a splash of water – it will sizzle and bubble, so watch your hands. Add the water slowly, stirring continuously, and let it coat the pecans. You may not need all the water, or you may feel you need a little more.
  • let the sugar melt completely and cover the pecans, stirring
  • when coated, dump pecans and caramel onto the waiting parchment paper, and spread out with your wooden spoon to separate. I wouldn’t worry too much about a little overlap, and the puddle of spicy-sugar won’t bother anyone either!
  • when dry and cool to the touch, package in airtight containers.

dark chocolate and rosemary scones

Soft, more crumbly than chewy, and incredibly flexible, dessert scones are underrated. These are like shortbread meets a biscuit, with flavours just complex enough to make them fit in at breakfast or dessert.

The recipe is inspired by this one from Molly Yeh, but using this scone recipe from El’s grandmother as a base instead. While you could definitely make these in a food processor, I find rubbing the butter into the flour to be a calming activity so I make mine by hand.

dark chocolate and rosemary scones

2 c flour (if using self raising flour, omit baking powder)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3-4 tbs sugar, depending on how sweet you want your scones and how sweet your chocolate is

1/2-3/4 c cold butter, cubed (start with 1/2, but you may need a little more – it’s all based on texture!)

3-4 tbs rosemary cream (below)

1 tbs vanilla

3/4 c dark chocolate chips

  • combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl
  • rub cold butter into dry ingredients until smooth and crumbly, it should just hold it’s shape when you squeeze it together
  • add in vanilla and rosemary cream, dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl
  • fold in dark chocolate chips
  • dust dough in flour and chill, wrapped in plastic, for about 30 minutes until butter is cold again
  • roll out to desired thickness, about 3/4 inch thick, and cut into circles with a cookie cutter or glass
  • place on baking tray lined with parchment and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden
  • top with glaze (below) while still warm

rosemary cream

3/4 c heavy cream (or milk, any dairy will work but heavy/double cream adds a nice richness)

4 sprigs of rosemary (fresh is best but dried will work, you’ll just have to strain it well

pinch of salt

  • combine in a small pan and bring ingredients to a simmer over medium heat
  • remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes
  • divide among scones and glaze

rosemary glaze

remaining rosemary cream

1/2 powdered sugar

  • in a small bowl, slowly add powdered sugar to cream, whisking continually. Add sugar until desired thickness is reached
  • top scones while warm