Bourbon Rosemary Pecans
Heading to a Memorial Day barbecue and want to bring your hosts something to go with the beer? And maybe you have some bourbon left over from your Kentucky Derby party?These salty sweet nuts are a delicious treat that they will love and you can throw them together pretty quickly.
I first made rosemary pecans a few weeks ago for a dinner party. I had already made lemon crinkles and the lemon coconut cookies, but I felt like I should contribute a little more. I got the recipe from Real Simple and despite keeping a careful eye on the the nuts when they were in the oven, I still managed to overcook them a little bit. I doctored the nuts a bit to try to rectify the slight bitter aftertaste, but wasn’t all that happy with them. Then I stumbled on this recipe for bourbon rosemary nuts and I could not wait to make them. I stopped by the store on the way home to get some more pecans and then went straight to the kitchen with bourbon in hand.
The thing is, I don’t know if they were just being polite, but everyone said they liked the slightly burnt pecans that I took to the dinner. But when I made these, all I could think was that if they liked the other ones, they were going love these. The ironic thing about these nuts is that they don’t look like there’s anything special about them – they look just like plain old toasted pecans. But the beautiful thing about these nuts is that they are brined in a bourbon/brown sugar/rosemary/salt mixture. It’s ingenious. Need I say more? There’s no coating or spice rub or anything like that, they just soak in the wonderful brine and then pop in the oven for a quick toast. The beauty of it is that the flavor soaks all the way through the nuts so they’re super flavorful and there’s no coating that falls off or rubs off on your fingers.
Our kitchen became a heavenly aromatic overload (in a good way!) while we made these because we were also making one of my favorite dishes, Thai Basil Chicken. I went from stirring the bourbon/rosemary brine to washing the Thai basil. The smells may not have really gone together, but I was really enjoying going from one side of the kitchen to another smelling the fantastic aromas.
These are perfect for taking to hosts or just for making because you want to eat some really delicious nuts. Quick, go try them before it gets too hot to turn your oven on!
Bourbon Rosemary Pecans #
Adapted from The Runaway Spoon
These nuts freeze well, so you can make them in advance and have on hand for when you need a small gift or when you just need to get a fix of the addiction that will begin after you try these. If you are making extra, make sure you don’t overcrowd the pecans, or they won’t toast evenly.
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup bourbon or Jack Daniels
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3/4 pound (12 oz) pecan halves
In a medium saucepan, stir together the water, bourbon, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Drop in the rosemary sprigs, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool to just slightly warm, about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. When the soaking liquid is warm, remove the rosemary sprigs and drop in the pecan halves, stir well and leave to soak for 15 minutes, stirring several times. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the pecans to the baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer and picking out and discarding any stray rosemary needles. Sprinkle the nuts very lightly with kosher salt. Bake for 11 – 15 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Watch and smell carefully so they do not burn. Cool on the baking sheet.
Yield: 3/4 pounds