Snacks are essential for holiday entertaining – especially when there’s cocktails involved. (Pssst! It’s the holidays… There should always be cocktails involved.) When guests arrive, they’ll likely be hungry (raises hand), and you don’t want to keep them(me) waiting to eat until dinner, because they(me) will become hangry and possibly(definitely) drunk in attempt to fill up on what’s available(booze). These rosemary maple roasted pecans are the perfect little nibble to set out on the table right next to the eggnog, mulled wine and spiked apple cider.
Pecans are naturally packed with protein, fat (don’t worry, the good kind!) and fiber to hold your guests over, but won’t fill them up so much they’ll spoil their appetites. Bonus! They also make for a lovely hostess gift, and are killer chopped up and sprinkled over salads or a sweet potato casserole. I love this recipe because it isn’t even really a recipe. With only 4 ingredients it comes together in a flash, and the quantities are so forgiving you don’t even have to measure.
Special shoutout to the person I borrowed this idea from, whoever you are. I read about these toasty little treats last holiday season and fell in love after making them several times. I tried searching the old Google endlessly for the original post (maybe it was a magazine?), but it’s nowhere to be found. If you’re the originator of this recipe, please stand up! Its genius and I’d love to give you all the credit you deserve.
- A few handfuls of raw, unsalted pecan halves and pieces
- A few glugs of 100% real maple syrup* (enough to thoroughly coat the pecans)
- A few sprigs fresh rosemary
- A generous sprinkle of flaky sea salt (recommended: Maldon)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper - this is essential to keep the nuts from sticking (for extra insurance, spray with cooking spray). Pour the nuts into a mound in the center of the baking sheet. Drizzle with enough maple syrup to thoroughly coat, and sprinkle with rosemary and salt. Use your hands to mix everything together, and evenly distribute around the pan.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes, but KEEP AN EYE ON THEM, and check them after 10. They can burn at a moments notice. They're done when the maple syrup is rapidly bubbling and the pecans are nicely toasted (you'll smell them, too).
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then use your fingers to break them apart. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.**
- *You MUST use 100% real maple syrup for this recipe. Aunt Jemima and the like simply won't work here, as they are mostly all corn syrup with maple flavoring and will not caramelize properly.
- **After the nuts sit for a while they'll become sticky, so it's best to serve them right after making. Nuts can be recrisped in a 300 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes, being sure to keep a careful eye on them.