A healthier version of praline pecans with a hint of orange, cinnamon and nutmeg!
I have to admit, I’ve never actually tried store bought praline pecans! The idea of having a perfect nut, like a pecan, doused in sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt doesn’t really appeal to me. Like most nuts, I really just prefer to consume pecans raw. (If they’re covered in dark chocolate, that’s a whole other story!)
Pecans are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat… high in antioxidants, a great source of fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and zinc. Then, why mess with a good thing? Because, even though raw nuts are healthiest, adding a little sugar and roasting them sure does take them to a new level! I just don’t need an excessive amount of sugar and corn syrup to achieve that. A little sweetness goes a long way!
So, take control of the ingredients and treat yourself, and others, to a healthier version of praline pecans. I’ve spiced them up with a little orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor. As far as the preparation goes… it doesn’t get much simpler than this!
Pecan halves plus 5 simple ingredients: brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest (from an orange), and heavy whipping cream.
You’ll get the best price if you’re able to pick up a bulk bag of pecans halves from a wholesale club such as Costco. You can also get a pretty good deal on Amazon (affiliate link). Since I only use about 3 cups of pecans from this 8 cup bag, I’ll store the rest in the freezer to prolong their freshness.
Whatever you do, promise me you will not buy Orange Peel in a jar from the spice aisle! Zesting or grating your own orange peel at home is your best option here!! The flavor will come through a zillion times better in this recipe and bonus… you’ll have a juicy orange to snack on once you get what you need from the peel.
I used a simple, cheap zester that I picked up at the store. Investing in a microplane (affiliate link) is an even better idea. (I have one, but it’s really big, and more than I needed for this little job.) A microplane is handy for grating citrus zest, garlic, parmesan, and chocolate, to name a few!
Like I said, it doesn’t get much easier than this! Mix all the ingredients up in a bowl, spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
Allow the fragrant pecans to cool, store in an airtight container and enjoy!
There are many ways to enjoy this delightful treat! Here are a few ideas to get you started…
- Add a few praline pecans to a salad.
- Top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with some chopped praline pecans (and just a teeny bit of rum!).
- Sprinkle a few praline pecans over french toast, pancakes or oatmeal.
- For a healthy snack, grab a handful of praline pecans and a piece of fruit, such as a pear.
- Share with others during the holidays! Add a few praline pecans to a cheese platter or place some in a pretty tin for gift giving.
Warning: Once you start, it is not easy to stop eating these spiced praline pecans! Control your portion by measuring out an ounce, or 1/4 cup, or about 15 pecan halves… and enjoy!
SPICED PRALINE PECANS
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp grated orange peel
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups raw, unsalted pecan halves
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients until blended. Add pecans; toss to coat.
- Transfer pecans to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper; spread evenly so that nuts are not on top of each other.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 6 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.