Christmas is baking time for me.
Years ago, I bought some salted baked pecans at a store while traveling. I was instantly in love. I couldn’t find them anywhere else, at least none that came close to those in a wayside diner/store.
I started experimenting and finally baked something that came close to the pecans that became an obsession. I started taking them to family events, then moved into baking tins full for individual members – mostly guys — at Christmas.
The list grew. Everyone wanted pecans: my extended family, my neighbors, my critique group members, other friends. I now bake more than forty pounds ever Christmas, two pounds per recipient. Thank the heavens for Costco and their endless supply of pecans.
I have it down to a science. I start three weeks in advance (they keep well). I try to bake two portions every day. Each one takes six to seven hours.
I thought I would share the recipe with you today. It’s simple. Ingredients are pecans, butter and salt. The problem is time. And patience.
I use an oblong baking pan. I spread out the pecans about four or five deep and distribute a stick of butter strategically among them. I bake them at 200 degrees for about twenty minutes, then remove the pan and distribute the pecans around until they are all coated. Then I add a fourth of a stick of butter, sprinkle the pecans with salt, then put them back into the oven. I repeat the process thirty minutes later., I move the pecans around to make sure they are all covered with butter and salt, then reduce the heat to warm for four or five hours.. I check them every twenty to thirty minutes to sprinkle a little more salt and allow the butter and salt to slowly bake into the pecans. Sometimes I add more butter, sometimes not. It all depends on the test test.
Did I warn you about the taste test? The recipe requires frequent tastings to make sure all the pecans are coated and the butter baked into them Be sure to take note that larger clothes may be required after Christmas.
I’ve now completed — and mailed — ten tins of Christmas pecans. Only twelve more to go for local folks.
Excuse me, I’m due for another taste test.
Have a great week before Christmas!