Happy National Pecan Day!

Today, April 14th is probably one of the most hyped days for my fellow Texans. No, this has nothing to do with tomorrow’s Tax deadline, although, I would hope you’ve sorted that out by now… It’s National Pecan Day! Thats (puh-con) not (pee-can) for my fellow Pennsylvanians.

To celebrate, I thought I would try out a few recipes I’ve had my eyes on for sometime; Pecan Toffee Shortbread Cookies, Pecan & BlackBerry baked Brie, Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Pecans and a Chocolate Pecan pie.

I really felt like the Baked Brie and Brussel Sprout appetizers were out of season, this is typically something I would serve in the fall or for Thanksgiving. But my heart was set on it anyway, I LOVE BRIE and I loooooove Brussel Sprouts so I just knew I had to feature these recipes for National Pecan Day!

Tell me this baked Brie with black berries and pecans isn’t salivating!! The options on this one are truly endless; there are so many different kinds of Brie, fruits like raspberries and other toppings to choose from. Next time, I think I’d like to try it with honey and sliced peaches for something a little “summery.”  I also think Maple Syrup would make a great topping in the fall! Anyway, I set the oven to 350 degrees F and baked everything together for 15 minutes. This did not disappoint and I will 10/10 be making this again (my friends are probably drooling).

My friend Kaitlin and I share a love for Brussel Sprouts, anytime we see them on a menu its an automatic decision to share! These also went in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. The prep for both the baked Brie and the Brussel Sprouts was super quick, I definitely recommend serving these as an appetizer or side dish- they’re so easy!

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One thing to know about me is that I LOVE to bake. I’d rather bake than cook any day, it probably has something to do with my uncontrollable sweet tooth. When I found a recipe for these Pecan Toffee Shortbread cookies, I  immediately knew I had to have them! I made a few adjustments to the recipe because shocker, I don’t like toffee. I also experimented with baking times until I found the way I liked them. The ingredients are pretty standard:

1 c. Butter softened
1/2 c. Powdered sugar
2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 c. Toffee bits (I chopped a Butterfinger)
3/4 c. Pecans chopped
1 oz. Chocolate chips chopped

Directions:
Combine powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Add in the flour and fold in the pecans and candy pieces. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Note: I did not like the way the first batch of cookies came out, so I added an egg. Once I did this, the consistency was better, more like cookie batter than the sandy texture it originally had. I baked the next batch for 13 minutes, they tasted better, but still did not look perfect. The only change I made for the third batch was flattening the cookies on the sheet with the bottom of a glass. That was definitely a game changer and I will start with that next time!

Last, but definitely not least, this AMAZING Chocolate Pecan Pie. Y’all know the saying, “It’s as American as apple pie?” Well, here the saying goes, “It’s as Texas as Pecan Pie.” Okay, I kind of just made that up, but for real, Texans take their Pecan Pie seriously. And since I’m a chocoholic, I wanted to incorporate it but still do it justice.

This time around, I used a store bought pie crust, I would normally make my own. Pecan pie was a lot easier than I thought it would be, theres few ingredients and few steps in the baking process- I’m convinced anyone can do it!

Ingredients:
2 c. Pecans chopped
3 oz. Bittersweet chocolate
3 eggs
1 c. Dark corn syrup
3/4 c. Sugar
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions:
Cover the dish with the pie crust and fill with pecans and chocolate. Beat the butter, eggs, vanilla, sugar and corn syrup. Pour the mixture over the ingredients in the dish and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting.

I love that National Pecan day falls before the Easter holiday because I think these are some awesome recipes to incorporate in your holiday lunch/ dinner with your friends and family! As always, if you have any comments/ questions/ suggestions please let me know!

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