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Alma’s Simple Homemade Holiday Gifts

By Alma Schneider
homemade edible gifts spiced pecans Almas Simple Homemade Holiday Gifts

Photo Credit: Alma Schneider

Spiced Pecans

I’ve been making this festive and frighteningly addictive recipe for about 15 years. They’re always a huge hit at parties and as hostess gifts. I always include the written-out recipe, so recipients can make them on their own. And they usually do.

(Makes about 6 cups of nuts.)

Supplies for gift packaging:

* Chinese food takeout containers (colored ones are available at any craft or dollar store) OR

* Cellophane bags with ribbons

Ingredients (pecans):

* 6 tablespoons butter

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 1/4 cup water

* 6 cups shelled, halved pecans

Ingredients (spice mixture):

(Note: You can make the spice mixture in advance or give it as a gift with a note containing the rest of the ingredients and the recipe.)

* 1 tablespoon chili powder

* 1 teaspoon ground cumin

* 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon dried oregano

* 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Lay out parchment paper on a large rimmed baking sheet.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

4. Add all the spices, brown sugar and water and stir until the sugar dissolves, a couple of minutes.

5. Once the mixture becomes syrupy, add the pecans and stir until the pecans are coated with the delicious syrupy mixture.

6. Spread the nuts on the parchment paper-lined baking tray in a single layer.

7. Bake about 20 minutes or until the nuts are starting to turn brown. Check frequently to make sure they’re not burning.

8. Let nuts cool completely on the counter and then break apart and put in an airtight container.

9. Package in Chinese food takeout containers or cellophane bags tied with ribbons.

  • Talita

    Thank you so much for teaching me to cheat at tfefrlus! It works perfectly for these, and also for dipping blueberries in.I’ve made these a couple times since you posted and they’ve been a hit with friends, though more than one person has suggested I use slightly less-dark chocolate (I’ve been using 70%) or sweeten the chevre a little. So when I make them next I’ll use 62%, and experiment with adding sugar to part of the batch.

  • Nicks

    Oct13 Great suggestions. Along the lines of #3, I smoetimes like to give gifts that will allow me to spend time with the person, but also involve something they like. One of my aunts adores the movie The Wizard of Oz, and also is a musician who loves orchestras. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was playing the soundtrack to The Wizard in a live concert. I got both of us tickets as her Christmas present two years ago, and she loved it!

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