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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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Santa and his reindeer have come and gone, leaving not a trace of the Reindeer Snack Mix that was set out for them. They obviously needed to fuel their bodies with carbohydrates for the strenuous night that lay ahead! Many versions of Reindeer Snack Mix exist, but this one has just the right combination of saltiness, spiciness, and sweetness so that everyone who comes in contact with it finds it addicting! Why wait until next Christmas to make this Mix? Put it out at your next gathering and watch how fast it disappears!

Reindeer Snack Mix
Taste of Home Test Kitchen recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups Bugles
2 cups square-shaped, cheese-flavored crackers
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 cup Corn Chex cereal
1 cup bite-sized shredded wheat
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
2. In another bowl, combine the butter, syrup, Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Pour over the cereal mixture and toss gently, but thoroughly, to coat.
3. Transfer to an ungreased 15-inch x 1–in baking pan. Bake, uncovered at 250 degrees F for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Serves 9.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. This recipe lends itself easily to substitutions. I use Crispix cereal in lieu of Corn Chex; pecans, walnuts, almonds and cashews work well individually or mixed; popcorn can be substituted for the shredded wheat (although I feel the shredded wheat absorbs the sauce much better); smaller, stubbier pretzels make it easier to grab a handful than the thin stick ones. I always add more Bugles than called for, because these are the first item to be picked out of the Mix and eaten. I usually double these dry ingredients and mix them in a large roasting pan.

2. In step 2, I add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder to the sauce mixture. The level of spiciness can easily be adjusted by adding or reducing the Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Make about 1.5 to 2 times the amount of sauce per batch for better coating.

3. I roast the mix in two shallow-lipped baking pans. Don’t try baking it in a deep pan (such as a roasting pan) because the Mix will take longer to dry out.

Enjoy!

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