These delicious nuts, simply wrapped, make for a welcome gift during the holiday season. The hardest part? Keeping the kids from eating the fruits (and nuts!) of their labors before they reach their intended destination.
Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them for 6 minutes or until they are fragrant and their color deepens slightly.
In a medium-size bowl, stir together the spice mix.
In a saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Stir in the toasted nuts and continue to stir until all the nuts are shiny and the liquid is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Move the glazed nuts to a mixing bowl, sprinkle on the spice mix, and toss them well to coat. Spread the coated nuts on a cookie sheet and return them to the oven for another 4 minutes; check regularly to make sure they don't burn. Remove and let cool. Makes 2 cups.
WRAPPING IT UP: We placed our pecans in a ceramic bowl that we then wrapped in clear cellophane (the sturdy material used to cover fruit baskets; we bought ours at a craft store). We used a 20-inch-wide sheet about a yard long. Place the bowl in the center, bring the corners up to the top, and tie the bundle with a wire-edge craft ribbon. To make tying the bow easier, first secure the corners with a twist tie. Trim the excess cellophane at the top with scissors. Other packaging options: decorative tins and lined cardboard boxes. Avoid placing the nuts in plastic bags, as the coating rubs off.