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Sugar and Spice Pecans Do more ingredients and more steps make a recipe better? Not necessarily. Last week my daughter and I attempted to make an elaborate pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. The recipe involved more steps and more ingredients than a usual pumpkin pie recipe contains. In the end, the pie was good, but not incredibly better than other pumpkin pies of the past. However, one of the steps in the recipe required making sugar-coated pecans. Unlike other sugar-coated pecan recipes that incorporate one spice, this recipe’s winning combination of spice made these pecans stand out as the best part of the pie. Their ease of preparation make them a great snack for holiday parties or a crunchy salad topping. Put these crunchy bites of spicy-sweetness into cute jars, complete with a ribbon and tag, and you have a delectable gift to give to family, friends, and holiday party hostesses.

Sugar and Spice Pecans
Adapted from a recipe by BRIT & CO

INGREDIENTS
1 pound pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Place egg white and water in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until egg whites are frothy. Add pecans and stir to coat.
3. In a separate bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to pecan mixture and stir until well-coated.
4. Spread pecans onto a baking sheet and bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
5. Let pecans cool completely.
6. Store in an airtight container.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Toasting the pecans first brings out their flavor. Make sure they are completely cooled before using them in this recipe.
2. I love the recipe as it is, but just for fun, I’m going to try experimenting with other spices to see what variations I can come up with. Cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, and espresso powder come immediately to mind.

ENJOY!

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Tucked away in a cabinet are holiday beverage napkins that read, “We Like To Give Homemade Gifts For Christmas. Would You Like One Of Our Kids?”  Whatever prompted me to purchase those particular napkins is a mystery to me. It’s true, I like to give homemade gifts. But even on my worst parenting days, I’ve never considered giving away any of my kids! I can only guess that a combination of the “HOLIDAZE” that normally takes over me at this time of year and too many “Calgon-take-me-away” moments of motherhood had something to do with it! This upcoming holiday season, my kids can rest assured that my homemade gifts will be in the forms of food mixes and baked goods. Food mixes, such as this one for corn bread, are gifts of time-saving convenience and are much appreciated by busy hostesses. Make this corn bread mix, put it in a cute airtight container, type and print up the instructions, and tie them on with a festive holiday ribbon. A voucher for some of your favorite homemade chili would make a great accompanying gift!

California Corn Bread Mix
Adapted from a recipe by Diane Phillips

Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder

Directions:
In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Store the mix in an airtight container.

Instructions to be included with the mix:

California Corn Bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the corn bread mix in a large mixing bowl, and add the eggs, milk, and butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a well-greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

Enjoy!

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