Posted on October 31 2011

Recipe #11: Maple-Glazed Pecans

We packed up the car and headed out to my parents’ this past weekend for some Halloween fun.  My dad has always done the majority of the cooking in our house growing up, and it’s become something we bond and obsess over together.  Prior to leaving for the short trip, I eagerly asked my dad what he’d like to help make from the cookbook so I could make sure I would be stocked up with the necessities.  His response was quick and unequivocal: maple-glazed pecans.  Such a dad choice, right?  Given a list of baked goods including things like shaker lemon pie and savory bread pudding, the pecans would never be on the top of my list of things to devour.  I wasn’t about to try to convince him otherwise, but his response was honestly underwhelming. 

As we started measuring out our supplies, my dad brought up my grandpa, who loved all varieties of nuts and would definitely be into these maple-glazed confections.  That struck a chord with me – how food evokes memories and connections between people that you can bring to the surface whenever you choose, even after someone is no longer physically in your life.  There are so many reasons why I’ve really fallen in love with food and my time in the kitchen as of late, but it’s these seemingly insignificant and brief moments that remind me of the powerful connections food creates between people.. 

That hand right there is no stranger to the kitchen.

From start to finish, the entire process probably took fifteen minutes.  In a blink of an eye the ingredients were mixed, the pecans were covered and we were spreading them on the parchment-lined tray.  While a quick and effortless prep is a joy sometimes, it was a total waste of the luxury of counter space that is usually non-existent for me, as I am so frequently pointing out to all of you following along here. 

This isn’t the greatest picture, but I had to include it because it reminds me of those amazing Country Crock butter commercials where those hands are talking to each other.  (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, or even if you do, you should check it out here.)  My hands look quite dramatic – I imagine I just received some shocking news as we were spreading out the pecans on the baking tray.

Pre-oven pecans.

Post-oven, golden brown and perfectly glazed pecans.

I caught my mom sneaking crumbs, as I’d been doing already, and made her freeze for a photo op. 

Just so you know, if you leave your coffee unattended in the Hallman casa for more than five minutes it is more than certain that your mug will be dumped, rinsed, washed and back in the cupboard before you are back to the spot you’d last left it.  This can be frustrating to those unprepared.  But, for those coffee lovers in the crowd, we are now trained to clutch our mugs throughout the morning.  Those fast fingers are also a glorious answer to those who hate to clean up their own messes, for they are quick to the draw with the soap and a dishcloth, which makes baking in my parents’ kitchen that much more exciting.  Who really wants to clean up messes in the kitchen?  Answer: my mom.  Why should I get in the way of something she loves?

This recipe yields two cups of perfectly light and tasty glazed pecans that were nearly gone in the span of an afternoon.  I was honestly surprised, being such a skeptic of recipe choice from the get-go, but I was in love with these pecans.  It would be hard not to love rocks smothered in this maple glaze, but the rich and buttery nature of the pecan is a better pairing for it.

I have big plans for these here pecans.  These nuts are the kind of holiday gift that really impress people.  It is nearly November, and holiday gift-giving is right around the corner.  Your friends, neighbors and mother will think you are the most thoughtful person in the world making such a gift for them, and they’ll never need to know that it took a tiny fraction of your day.  For procrastinators, such as myself, you can truly wait until the last moment to get these pecans ready for that special someone.  I actually suggest you wait until the holidays are closer, if you were to make them now they’d be old and gross and the last thing you should gift to anyone. 

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