Arrrrrrgggghhhh you ready for Gasparilla this weekend? With Tampa’s annual pirate soiree just two days away, I wanted to share my absolute favorite thing about Gasparilla. While most of my friends look forward to the parade, boozy libations and lots of parties, I look forward to nuts. Yep. Nuts. Each year I have the honor of bartending for a wonderful family in a tent on Bayshore and my day is filled with fun and lots of laughter. This weekend marks my 8th year and I am so blessed to be working for Randy and Sandra Stewart for another Gasparilla parade. Each year, Sandy makes these incredible spiced pecans that are the talk of the tent. The nuts disappear quickly and everyone raves about them. The perfect combination of sweet and spicy, these will make a great addition for your next cocktail party. I asked Sandy for her recipe and she was kind enough to share it with me and I am honored to share it with my readers. Sandy is very talented in the kitchen and I can’t wait to get some more recipes from her. Every year I tell her that she needs to write a cookbook.
Arrrrggghhh you ready for the recipe? I must warn you, these nuts are addictive!
All you need is a cup of vegetable or canola oil, a cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of Cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt and a bag of whole pecans.
To begin, combine all of the ingredients (except for the pecans) in a medium bowl and stir to ensure the mixture is evenly distributed. Add the pecans and stir for about 5 minutes. You want to make sure that all of the nuts are nice and coated.
I added some fresh, minced rosemary since I had some on hand. This is completely optional.
Preheat your oven to 375 and place the nuts on a baking sheet. Be sure they are spread out nice and even and not clumped together. Bake for about 20-25 minutes and be sure to check on them around the 15 minute mark to make sure they are not burning. When they are done, remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. You can store them in an airtight container or large zip lock bag until you are ready to serve. If using rosemary, you can sprinkle some on top for a nice presentation. These are great for parties and events. I plan on making these for the Super Bowl.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine or a cocktail and enjoy sweet and spicy pieces of heaven.
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