Anyone can open a jar of olives and a can of nuts and set them out for a party. But that’s so boring; it tells your guests you don’t think much of them.
By getting a head start, you can offer such temptations as bourbon spiced nuts and marinated olives.
Nuts go fast at any party — people tend to down them by the handful rather than nibble on them — so fix plenty.
These bourbon pecans have a little sweetness and more than a smidgen of heat. They’re perfect for a holiday of this season.
Makes 4 cups
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters, optional
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon corn oil
- 1 pound pecan halves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat over to 325 degrees.
Simmer the bourbon to reduce it to 3 tablespoons. Combine the reduced bourbon, sugar, bitters, Worcestershire sauce and corn oil.
Blanch the pecans for 1 minute in boiling water, then drain the nuts. Turn the hot nuts into a bowl and toss with the bourbon mixture. Let stand 10 minutes, then spread on a foil-lined, rimmed cookie sheet, pouring the remaining bourbon marinade over them.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. When nuts are crisp and lightly brown, and the liquid has evaporated, turn the nuts into a bowl. Combine the cayenne, salt, pepper and cumin. Sprinkle over the nuts while tossing them.
Turn out onto a clean, foil-lined cookie sheet to dry in a single layer. Store in an airtight container.
Ann Heller became the first restaurant critic for The Journal Herald in 1975 and added writing food stories for that paper in 1977. The Journal was merged with the Dayton Daily News, where she remained restaurant critic and food editor until 2006. During that time, she tested and shared hundreds upon hundreds of recipes with our readers. Now we want to share them with a new generation every week on our subscriber website, MyDaytonDailyNews.com.