Tag Archive: pecan

Dec 23 2013

Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn #client

We’re down to the wire here. Christmas is hours away now and the stores are mobbed with last-minute shoppers. And there’s nothing I dislike more than crowds. I have a strong fear of being buried alive–and shopping on the day or two before Christmas feels a little too much like being buried alive.

Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn

You’re in luck, though! You probably already have all you need right in your kitchen to make the perfect gift for those who remain on your list: Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn. Homemade is better than anything store-bought anyway, right? Who needs those brightly-colored tins of stale popcorn when you can make your own scrumptious caramel corn at home. And by making it yourself, YOU control the ingredients–which means better flavor (especially with the addition of a bit of Irish whiskey!).

Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn

I highly recommend paying the little bit extra and using Kerrygold butter for this recipe. The butter you use will make a huge impact on the overall flavor of this caramel corn, and Kerrygold’s grass-fed Irish butter can’t be beat! You’re worth it–and so are your gift recipients!

Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn

Merry Christmas! May your holiday be full of joy and love!

Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon flaky sea salt (Maldon is a good one)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Pop your corn however you prefer to get about 10 cups of popped corn. I have one of those Whirly Pop things that has a hand crank to help toss the kernels around inside so the heat is more evenly distributed, so I added the coconut oil and popcorn kernels to that and popped my corn. Dump popped corn into a large, heat-resistant bowl, add the pecans, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat.
  4. Add to it the brown sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt and stir until it starts to boil.
  5. Boil for 4-5 minutes without stirring. If the caramel isn’t dark enough after the time has elapsed, you can cook it longer, but watch it carefully; it will go from perfect to burned in no time if you’re not paying attention.
  6. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract, whiskey, and baking soda. It will bubble up, so be careful not to get burned.
  7. Stir until smooth, then quickly pour over the popcorn and pecans.
  8. Toss the popcorn and pecans to coat evenly, then spread half in an even layer in one prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other.
  9. Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until it has reached desired dryness. Every 15 minutes, rotate pans and toss the popcorn a bit, breaking up any big pieces.
  10. Store in air-tight containers for up to 3 days.
I referred to [url href="http://food52.com/blog/7767-how-to-make-any-caramel-corn-in-5-steps" target="_blank"]food52[/url] and [url href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/classic-caramel-corn/" target="_blank"]allrecipes[/url] for advice on the method for this recipe.

Disclosure: Kerrygold Cheese & Butter provided me with butter to develop a recipe for a contest they were running (which this recipe ultimately won!). No other compensation was received for this post. All photos and opinions remain my own.

Nov 11 2013

Easy Mornings: Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats

Not being a morning person, breakfast can be a whirlwind in our home. Luckily, my kids have been making their own breakfasts for ages. Unluckily, it often consisted of boxed cereal, which is a compromise I make in that I buy organic or non-GMO boxed cereals for them, but I still am not entirely thrilled about it. There is a better way to get nutrition in them! And Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats are it!

Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats

I’m sure you’re thinking that you don’t have enough time for steel cut oats. They take so long to cook, after all! I promise you, you can have your oats and eat them, too! This actually was a weekly ritual for me for a while. Sunday night, make the oats. Flavor and fill Mason jars with them, then line them up in the fridge for my daughter. In the morning, all she had to do was grab a jar, dump the contents into a bowl, then reheat at will. Easy!

Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats

But then we started the “microwave experiment” and the daily dose of oats fell to the wayside. With limited counter space and only one electrical outlet to share, we removed our microwave from the kitchen for 4 months. It was supposed to be a permanent change; a giving up of convenience and gaining an appreciation for the traditional ways things have been done. It didn’t last. I brought my Keurig in to work in order to get the microwave back–and I don’t regret it!

Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats

The jars last long enough for you to line up a week’s worth of school- and work-day breakfasts as you get ready for bed Sunday night. After that, it only takes a little while in the microwave to rejuvenate them. You could probably reheat the oats on the stove top, too, but that seems counter-intuitive. If you’re going to dirty a saucepan, you may as well make them fresh every day instead of working on overnight oats. Maybe it’s just me…?

Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats

Here’s to a wonderful day started with a hearty breakfast!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Coconut Pecan Overnight Oats
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 7
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1½ cups steel cut oats
  • ⅓ cup ground flax meal
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk, shaken
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted coconut strips, crumbled
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  1. Set out 7 half-pint Mason jars and remove tops.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high until it’s melted
  4. Add the oats, stir to evenly coat them, and cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes until they smell a little nutty, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the flax meal, water, coconut milk, and salt.
  6. Once it’s started boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. While the oats are simmering, place the chopped pecans in a shallow pan and toast in the oven until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  8. After 20 minutes have passed, remove oats from heat and stir in pecans, coconut, and brown sugar.
  9. Ladle into half-pint jars, cover, and let sit on the counter until cooled.
  10. Store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat.
*Mix-ins: This is where you can go crazy. Maple sugar, maple syrup, chocolate chips, walnuts, bananas, apples… So many wonderful ways to jazz it up! Have fun with it!

**To reheat: remove lid and heat on high in the microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir. Return to the microwave for 30 seconds, if not heated through.


Jul 22 2013

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Woman cannot live on cake alone. Every once in a while, some veggies must pass our lips, too. At least bacon makes it better.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

The first time I saw Broccoli Salad, I wasn’t touching it. Who the heck puts dried fruit in with broccoli? And why would they ruin perfectly good bacon with a concoction like this? But while I spent the next few hours avoiding it, people came and went raving about the salad. They couldn’t get enough of it! So I caved. And then I grabbed another bowl. And another. They almost had to pull the remains from my grasp–at least I restrained myself from dunking my head in the bowl.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Ever since, I’ve been trying to recreate that euphoric experience. This is slightly divergent–I’ve reduced the mayonnaise to make it slightly healthier, replaced the sugar with honey, and utilized white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar–but it’s equally good. I use raw broccoli here, but you can blanche it if you prefer. Prepare the salad at least 2 hours before you will serve it to let the flavors have a chance to get acquainted with each other. Leftovers? You probably won’t have any, but you can keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Yup, I’ve gone to the veggie side. But just for today. Those sweets won’t eat themselves!

Broccoli Salad with Bacon
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets, packed lightly
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped roughly
  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled (baked in the oven is best)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons local honey
  1. Layer in a large bowl the broccoli florets, dried cranberries, pecans, and bacon.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, and honey.
  3. Drizzle it over the rest of the ingredients and toss.
  4. You can eat it immediately, but the flavor improves after a couple of hours hanging out in the fridge.

Do you have a favorite veggie dish?

Jan 08 2013

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies – Or, Make Your Dessert AND Eat It, Too!

To some, January is a month of making resolutions. Seeking a renewal in spirit in the pursuit of denial, they deprive, deprive, deprive for the “greater good.” That’s fine and well if you are a sadist, but I’m getting too old for that sort of thing.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

I’d rather take a page out of Julia Child’s book, leaning more toward “everything in moderation, including moderation.” Want to eat healthier? Who doesn’t! Instead of breaking out in a sweat at the mere thought of walking past the donuts, eclairs, cakes, and cookies while shopping for your spinach and broccoli, why not take matters into your own hands and revamp your cookies for a treat you can eat without the unnecessary shame game? Works for me!

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

Oatmeal lends itself well to a moderate dessert, being not only a heart-healthy option, but one that transitions well from the breakfast table to desserts. Add to it whole wheat pastry flour, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and a little bit of raw sugar, and you’re doing pretty well. So well you can manage some high quality white chocolate morsels. A little bit of sweetness to balance the cranberries, without being too indulgent. If there is such a thing.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

These turned out somewhere between crunchy and soft cookies. If you’d like them softer, bake for less time or don’t flatten the mounds. Crunchier? Thinner dough and/or more time in the oven should accomplish that nicely. I’d guess that they last for 3 days packaged in an air-tight container on the counter, but I couldn’t tell you for sure–mine are nearly gone in less than 24 hours. If you’d rather spread out your sweets, you can always freeze them for up to 3 months. Portion control achieved!

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 36
  • 11 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup raw (turbinado) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks or chips (the real deal–not artificial junk)
  • ¾ cup chopped toasted pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out 2 nonstick baking sheets and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer (you can also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs until well incorporated.
  4. Add the oats, flour, baking soda, and kosher salt, beating until well mixed.
  5. Stir in the dried cranberries, white chocolate, and pecans.
  6. Using a medium cookie scoop, portion out the dough, 6 cookies per tray. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingertips.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges.
  8. Let rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

You may have noticed something unusual in the method for this recipe–the recommendation to use a hand mixer. While I almost never used my hand mixer before, preferring my workhorse 6-quart KitchenAid for most jobs, through the generosity of my boss and his wife, I had a little splurge money to use at Sur La Table recently. I decided to upgrade my cheap-o hand mixer of unknown vintage to a Cuisinart 220 watt, 7-speed model–in metallic pink! People could hear my squeals of delight 7 blocks away, I swear! Upon arrival, I needed to put this pretty princess to the test–so I threw cookie dough at it. Not something I would normally make with a hand mixer. Penelope (that’s what I’ve chosen to name her) was up to the task, surprising me with her brawn  I turned her on and at the lowest speed, I almost lost her–she was that much more powerful than I was anticipating. I didn’t have to get above speed 1 at any point in the process (though I did push her to the next level, just to see what she had in her–WOW!). Did I need a hand mixer? Nah, my old one was limping along just fine. Am I sorry I got her? Nope! I will surely make more excuses to pull out Penelope and give her a good workout!



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