This recipe is so simple, is not really an official recipe. I had to tell you about it because these nuts are so easy to make, and I am finding all kinds of delicious uses for them.
Last week, Phil and our friend Jonathan had an early morning run planned. Jonathan arrived at the house to pick up Phil, and invited us to brunch at his house. As an inticement to get us to come, he told me that he made a batch of his glazed pecans, and he wanted to give us a bag. It was the day before I was filming the ginger duck segment, and I had a lot of prep work to do, so I told Phil to run over and pick up a bag of the nuts. Jonathan's nuts did not look like the photo above. His were finely chopped and we finished them in 2 days.
Phil sprinkled them over Greek yogurt and fruit. I added them to a salad and snacked on them straight out of the container.
My absolute favorite use for these nuts is to throw them into a bowl of cereal. My favorite cereal is bran flakes. Just plain, old, generic bran flakes. They are low in calories, high in fiber and very filling, but they can get boring sometimes, so I like to doctor them up with a sliced banana or raisins. I decided to try throwing a few chopped pecans into my cereal with a handful of raisins. Then I poured on the almond milk. AMAZING! It was so good, I went for a second bowl! I haven't done that since I was pregnant with Joey, who is now 16. In addition, the nuts bumped up the fiber and protein in the bowl of cereal. The raisins add a nice chewiness and a touch of sweetness. This is one scrumptious, healthy and filling bowl of cereal.
They are so simple to make. You take as many whole pecans as you want (feel free to substitute any nut you want), and place them in a dry nonstick skillet. Turn the heat to medium and toast them. Keep your eye on it and constantly stir the nuts because they can burn quickly. Once you can smell the nuts, it is time to drizzle them with honey. Not too much. You can always add more. I think I had about 3 cups of pecans and used 2 - 3 T. of honey, but it is to your personal preferance.
Continue to cook over low until the honey has melted and formed a liquid glaze. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with sea salt. Let them cool before storing in an airtight container. I chose to put half of the pecans away whole, and finely chopped the other half.
Since making my own batch, they have come in handy. We had a dinner party last night. Several people offered to bring dishes, so we outsourced the appetizers. The couple that was bringing the appetizers was late, the wine was flowing and I started to think we had to get some kind of food into these people. I pulled out the glazed nuts, put them in a cute bowl and we all began to munch of the nuts. Since I love making dessert, I made all of the desserts that night. I served my Cream Cheese Poundcake and 3 flavors of ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce. I put the nuts on the table at dessert, and we sprinkled them over the cake and ice cream. So delicious.
Keep in mind that nuts can go rancid when stored at room temperature, so if you think you will not finish the batch in two weeks, store them in the freezer, so they stay fresh.
2 c. butter
2 c. white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. finely chopped pecans
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (use a candy thermometer). Stir occasionally.
While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic glove on your hand will minimize the mess.
Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.
One of my favorite restaurants in New York City is Union Square Cafe. I ordered a very simple meal of roasted chicken, but it was the BEST roasted chicken I ever ate! The true test of a chef is to taste their roasted chicken. Only the best chefs can turn out a perfect roasted chicken...crispy skin, moist, well seasoned meat. I was so impressed, that I purchased the "Union Square Cafe Cookbook" on the spot! I never do that. I usually avoid restaurant cookbooks, because it is way too complicated to try and recreate a restaurant dish at home, but the roasted chicken was in the book, so I had to buy it.
The recipes turned out to be very adaptable for the home cook. In the appetizer section, this recipe for Bar Nuts caught my attention right away. I actually made these, before trying the famous roasted chicken. Wow..were these a hit! They were gone in an hour. Now, when I make these, I double the recipe. Even though they are amazing when served warm, they will keep in an airtight container for at least two weeks. My friend Stephanie suggested that they would make a great topping for salads! Why didn't I think of that?