“Peecans or Pecahns?”

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No matter how you choose to pronounce, pecans are a healthy addition to many recipes. Pecans are packed with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and 19 vitamins and minerals. Did you know that?

* One ounce of pecans (about 20 halves) contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals.

* Pecans rank highest among all nuts; they are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity. These antioxidants, including vitamin E, help lower cholesterol and fight cancer.

* Recent research shows that pecans can help with weight control efforts.

*Eating just a handful of pecans each day may protect your nervous system against neurological diseases such as ALS.

* Pecans provide 10 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber with 2.7 grams in a 1-ounce serving, and

*Yes, pecans contain fats – but it’s good, heart-healthy fats like oleic acid that help prevent heart disease.

Make pecans a part of your diet with these tasty recipes.

Lightened Up Creole Pecan Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 cups chopped pecans

1 cup raisins, preferably golden

1 cup finely chopped pitted dates

Preheat oven to 300°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a large (17-by-12-inch) baking sheet with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed. Add eggs one at a time and beat until creamy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.

Add half the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined. Add cinnamon and nutmeg; stir until blended into the mixture completely. Add pecans, raisins and dates to the rest of the flour mixture. (Coating the dried fruit and nuts helps distribute them in the mix.) Stir the flour-coated fruit and nuts into the batter. Do not overstir. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared baking pan with a spatula. (Coat the spatula with cooking spray, if necessary, to make spreading easier.)

Bake for 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the sides. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 45 minutes. Invert onto a large cutting board and remove the parchment. Cut into 48 squares.

Yields 4 dozen bars, each bar contains: Calories 132, Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 18 mg, Carbohydrates 17 g, Protein 1 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 43 mg, Potassium 90 mg.

Candied Maple Pecans

4 cups raw pecans

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon or more to taste

1/4 tsp. nutmeg or more to taste

Pinch of ground ginger or more to taste

Pinch of cayenne pepper or more to taste

Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast pecans for about 8-10 minutes until slightly crispy and fragrant.

In a saucepan, heat the maple syrup and spices on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until warm and slightly bubbling.

Add in the warm roasted pecans and water. Stir and fold through for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat until the nuts caramelize and the mixture reduces and is completely absorbed.

Lay the nuts out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and allow to cool and harden. This takes about 15 – 20 minutes. Enjoy warm store in an airtight container.

Pecan-Cinnamon Wafers

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Beat butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until combined. Stir in pecans.

Divide the dough in half and use lightly floured hands to shape each portion into a 6-inch round log. Wrap each log in wax paper and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Unwrap the dough and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon on a shallow plate. Roll the logs in the sugar mixture, then slice each into 24 (1/4-inch-thick) cookies. Place the cookies about 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake, one batch at a time, until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Yields 4 dozen cookies, each cookie contains: Calories 16, Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 9 mg, Carbohydrates 7 g, Protein 1 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 26 mg, Potassium 13 mg.

Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Butter

1 pound (16 ounces) unsalted pecans
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1-2 teaspoons flavorless oil (like grapeseed/canola), if needed

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes. Once roasted, add pecans to a food processor and blend and pulse, scraping down the sides of the processor until the butter comes together – about 5-6 minutes. Add in pumpkin, spices, syrup and salt, pureeing and blending more until your desired consistency is reached. If needed, stream in oil 1 teaspoon at a time to bring the butter together and smooth it out a bit.

Taste and season more if needed (this will depend on your pecans, your syrup, etc.), then place in a seal-tight container or jar to serve. Store in the fridge if this butter will not be consumed within 1-2 weeks.

Warning this one is neither easy nor low fat but worth a try because it is soooo tasty!!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting

(Adapted from Half Baked Harvest)

 

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup bourbon (you may use a ½ cup of coffee and ½ cup of bourbon instead)

1 cup canola oil

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs

2/3 cup Greek yogurt

Pecan Pie Filling

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup corn syrup

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter Pecan Frosting:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided

2 tablespoons bourbon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pecans + 18 whole pecan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 18 liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, canola oil and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and Greek yogurt with an electric mixer. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture. Combine on medium speed until silky and smooth. Beat in the sugar.

Slowly add flour, salt and baking soda, combining on low speed until just incorporated.

Fill baking cups three-fourths full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling, at least 2 hours or covered overnight.

Meanwhile make the pecan pie filling. Combine 1/4 cup cold water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, whisk until smooth. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, salt and corn starch mixture to a sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking consistently for about 5 minutes. Do not stop whisking the mixture, especially in the beginning or you will end up with scrambled eggs. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the pecans, bourbon and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool a few minutes and then transfer to the fridge for at least one hour or until completely cooled and thickened.

To make the frosting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.

In a medium sauce pan, melt together 1/4 cup butter, cream, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge for longer) for 15-20 minutes or until cool.

In a bowl whisk together the bourbon, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly. Transfer nuts to prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove and toss the pecans with 1 tablespoon butter. Allow to cool 10 minutes, set aside.

Now grab the cooled butter mixture and add the remaining 1/2 cup room temperature butter, vanilla and powdered sugar to the bowl and beat together until well combined. Mix in about 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans. If the frosting is not stiff enough to frost the cupcakes place it in the fridge for 30 20-30 minutes or the freezer for 5-15 minutes. The remove and whip it for a few second to get everything smooth again.

To assemble the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the cooled pecan pie filling. Add the frosting (if you want to pipe the frosting on use a circular tip, double the frosting recipe and swirl the frosting on in a circular motion) and sprinkle each cupcake with the remaining pecans. If desired top with 1 whole pecan.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Nov 10, 2015
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