Monday, October 31, 2011

Cocoa Roasted Pecans

So there I was, sitting there at work on a Thursday afternoon and instead of paying attention to my daily 1 o'clock meeting like I really should be, my mind wanders.  I want to be in my kitchen, making something new, something excited.  On top of that, I am hungry and jonesing for a snack.   So where does my mind wander?  To cocoa roasted nuts, of course.  Isn't that where your mind always wanders off too?

Alright, I admit, it was quite a random thought, but the idea has been floating around my head for awhile, I just never acted upon it.  And as I sat there in my meeting, once again zoning out and day dreaming of food, I realized I didn't really know how I would go about tackling these things.  I didn't think I could take the candying approach I use for my spicy pecans, but that's all I really knew.

Until Thursday afternoon, during my break of course, when I ventured online to take a peak at how other's had accomplished cocoa dusted nuts.  And I found 3 new blogs that seemed to have a handle on it, each with their own spin on it.  So I did the only reasonable thing: between the different recipes, what I knew I did and did not have at home and my own special brand of logic, I hodge-podged together my own recipe. 

And surprise of surprises, my recipe mojo must have been pumping full blast on Thursday, because these are fantastic.  Really fantastic.  I, of course, will attribute it to my magical recipe combining skills, but you're more than welcome to attribute it to the fact that cocoa + sugar + toasted nuts = really yummy, snacky, healthy goodness.  Really, what more could you ask for?  Oh wait, did I mention that they will make your kitchen smell wonderfully chocolaty and spiced and warm?  And that they taste a little bit like Christmas in your mouth?  And that they come together very quickly and easily?  And that if I could make these with only what I have sitting in my pantry, then so can you?  Cause really those are all very valid points.

Anyways, silliness aside, my batch was purely pecans, but I stocked myself up on other assorted nuts this weekend at Costco to make myself a mix batch (almonds, pecans, cashews) just as soon as I go buy more eggs for my fridge.  In my head, I have great images of myself cooking up several batches and making them pretty in nice jars with ribbons and Christmas bows to give away, but we'll see if that actually happens.  If nothing else, I plan to bring a load home for Thanksgiving to share, but that's a few weeks off as well, so really, I can't promise anything.  Or in other words, stop waiting for me, you'll be much happier the sooner you make these for yourself.

Cocoa Roasted Pecans

3 c. pecans
1 large egg white
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300 degree F.  On rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread out nuts.  Roast in oven for about 10 minutes or until nuts are fragrant.

While nuts are roasting, whisk together sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In larger bowl, whisk egg white and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Gently fold in sugar mixture.  Fold in roasted nuts and stir gently until nuts are completely covered.

Spread nuts back onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper evenly.  Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  Let cool and store in an airtight container.

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