(Family Features) The holidays are filled with delicious food - from indulgent breakfasts to decadent desserts - but snacks can get overlooked. Spice up this holiday season with festive snacks that are perfect for a quick on-the-go bite or a taste of your favorite holiday dessert.
Although beloved in pie, pecans are a versatile nut that can be used beyond the pie shell - add them to a snack mix, incorporate them into granola or munch on them straight from the bag. Delicious and nutritious, 1 ounce of pecans offers 3 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber, plus 12 grams of "good" monounsaturated fats and only 2 grams of saturated fat - perfect to power you through long days of holiday shopping.
This holiday season, nosh on a handful of these spiced Gingerbread Pecans for a sweet and savory snack while decorating the house or wrapping presents late at night, or set out a bowl for the family to enjoy.
You can also make snack-sized versions of your favorite holiday desserts to have on-hand when you're craving a quick and tasty treat. Chopped pecans add a flavorful and nutrient-dense crunch to these paleo-friendly No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites, while pecan halves provide a festive touch to these Reindeer Pecan Brownies.
Discover more nutritious, delicious and festive recipes at AmericanPecan.com.
Reindeer Pecan Brownies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 20 brownies
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon pecan or canola oil
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 20 raw pecan halves, cut in half
- 40 candy eyeballs
- 20 red chocolate candies
- 1/4 cup chocolate chip
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, whisk melted butter, oil and sugar until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is thick and pale in color, about 1 minute.
- Sift in flour and cocoa powder. Add espresso powder, if desired, and salt. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined. Batter should be thick.
- Using 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, transfer batter to prepared mini muffin tin. Bake 13-15 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, with some lingering crumbs.
- Add chocolate chips to heat-proof bowl; microwave until smooth and melted. Pour melted chocolate into sandwich bag and cut off small portion of one corner to use as tip. Use melted chocolate to "glue" on pecan antlers, candy eyeballs and red candy noses to brownies.
- Allow chocolate to set before transferring brownies to airtight container.
Note: Brownies will stay fresh for up to three days.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 cups (6 servings)
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 2 cups raw pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice blend
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 300 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In large bowl, use fork to whisk beaten egg until frothy. Add pecans and stir until coated. Sprinkle pecans with granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingerbread spice and salt. Stir to coat evenly. Spread pecans in even layer on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake pecans 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow pecans to cool completely.
Note: Pecans can be stored in airtight container for up to four days.
No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 bites (6 servings)
- 1 1/2 cups raw pecan pieces
- 3/4 cup pitted medjool dates (about 7 dates), soaked in hot water 10 minutes
- 1 pinch pink salt
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 pinch pink salt
- 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)
- 12 raw pecan halves, for topping
- To make crust: In food processor, process pecan pieces, drained dates and salt until combined and "dough" starts to form into ball.
- To make filling: In bowl, combine pumpkin puree, coconut milk, pumpkin spice, maple syrup, pink salt and collagen peptides, if desired. Whisk until smooth.
- Line cupcake tin and evenly distribute crust mixture, about 1 1/2 tablespoons in each cupcake opening. Use fingers to press crust into even layer.
- Evenly disperse pumpkin pie filling among openings until tins are about half full.
- Top each with one pecan half and place in freezer at least one hour.
Source: American Pecan Council
(Family Features) While this autumn season will likely look different than years past, wholesome meals celebrating fall flavors provide something to look forward to. Eating foods like walnuts, colorful fruits and vegetables, and whole grains can be a solution for improving overall well-being in an enjoyable, delicious way.
Along with fall favorites like root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, apples and cranberries, kitchen staples like walnuts also have their own prime season. Walnuts harvested during autumn from the fertile soils of California supply more than 99% of walnuts in the U.S. and more than half of the world’s walnut trade.
Each harvest produces enough walnuts for you to enjoy the tasty and nutrient rich benefits year-round. Pro tip: Storing them in the fridge or freezer maintains freshness longer.
Welcome the flavors of fall with this Apple Pear Walnut Crisp and Pumpkin Walnut Sage Risotto, and find more recipes to celebrate the season at walnuts.org/fall-favorites.
Apple Pear Walnut Crisp
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Walnut Crisp Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups California walnuts, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled and sliced into 1-tablespoon pieces
Apple Pear Filling:
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 D’Anjou pears, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ice cream (optional)
- caramel sauce (optional)
- To make walnut crisp topping: In food processor, pulse 1 cup walnuts until finely ground.
- In small bowl, combine ground walnuts, flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Cut butter into mixture until coarse crumb forms.
- Coarsely chop remaining walnuts and stir into crumb mixture until incorporated. Set aside.
- To make apple pear filling: Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In bowl, toss apples, pears, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice.
- Place fruit mixture in bottom of 10-inch cast-iron pan or baking dish.
- Sprinkle walnut crisp topping mixture over fruit.
- Bake 45 minutes, or until fruit mixture is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown.
- Top with ice cream and caramel sauce, if desired.
Pumpkin Walnut Sage Risotto
Total time: 30 minutes
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
Walnut Sage Pesto:
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 cup California walnuts
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- To make risotto: In medium pot over medium-low heat, heat vegetable stock.
- In large, heavy pot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes, or until soft.
- Add rice and cook, stirring often, 2-3 minutes until rice is translucent except for white center.
- Add hot stock 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently. As stock is absorbed, add another cup. Continue until all stock has been incorporated and rice is cooked al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and cheese.
- To make walnut sage pesto: In bowl of food processor, combine garlic and walnuts; pulse until minced. Add 1/2 cup sage leaves, 1/2 cup cheese and olive oil; pulse until coarse pesto forms. Season with salt, to taste.
- In final few minutes, add 1/2 cup walnut sage pesto to risotto, stirring until well incorporated. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste. Garnish with remaining pesto, cheese and fresh sage, if desired.
Source: California Walnuts