One of my absolute favorite holiday traditions is making delicious treats like these Gingersnap Pecans to deliver to neighbors, family, and friends. I have a very special memory of my sweet boy at 4 years old beaming with pride, all bundled up in his Santa hat and down jacket, standing next to his Radio Flyer.
“Come on mama, let’s go!” And then, “WAIT I HAVE A ROCK IN MY SHOE.”
However, I must confess that one of my least favorite holiday traditions (next to Chucky on the Shelf) is receiving sugary treats that I know will fill that same sweet boy with insane “climbing the walls” energy, and me with a heart and tummy full of regret.
(Not to mention lower our immune system’s ability to fight off viruses.)
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the gesture of giving. And I LOVE enjoying a treat now and then. I just don’t love the overload of sugary sweets we experience during the holidays, or how too much refined sugar makes me feel like punching someone in the throat.
Which is precisely why I was inspired to share this recipe for Gingersnap Pecans with you. Lightly sweetened with a touch of spice and a TON of crunch, these pecans truly feel like a treat! But, unlike most holiday recipes, they’ll fuel you with enough energy to wrap all those gifts without saying lots of grown-up words.
Making Gingersnap Pecans sounds like a lot of work!
“I don’t know what to say, but it’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.” – Ellen Griswold, Christmas Vacation. (Really though, they’re super easy!)
Should I multiply the recipe if I’m making these as gifts for neighbors?
It depends. Do you like your neighbors? If so, I’d say yes. This recipe makes enough for one household to enjoy (about 4-6 servings). You can easily double the recipe to fit onto one sheet pan, and put multiple pans in the oven at the same time. You just may need to extend the bake time for the sheets that are on the lower racks.
Can I use walnuts instead of pecans?
You can, and I have, but they’re not quite as tasty. Pecans are naturally sweet and soak up the spices better than walnuts.
How long will they keep?
About a week on the counter in an airtight container, two or three weeks in the fridge. In the freezer? Up to 3 months.
Do you eat the Gingersnap Pecans alone or add them to other dishes?
I like to eat them alone while crying in my closet about the overwhelm of making the holidays magical. They’re also great on salads. Oh and ground in the nut chopper and added to oats with a splash of maple syrup? Heaven in a bowl!
- 1.5 cups raw, unsalted, pecans
- 1.5-2 teaspoons ginger (ground) (add the higher range if you like spicy)
- 1 -1.5 teaspoon cinnamon (add the higher range if you like spicy)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon ⅛ tsp allspice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (If using regular table salt, start with ½ teaspoon and add more halfway through bake time, if needed.)
- 1/4 cup unrefined brown (or turbinado) sugar (If you want a replacement option for the brown sugar, consider Lakanto's Monkfruit sweetener or coconut sugar. Bloth claim a 1:1 ratio with regular sugar, though I find both slightly less sweet.)
- 1.5 teaspoons molasses
- 1 egg white
- Preheat oven to 275F & line baking pan with parchment paper.
- Mix spices, salt, and brown sugar together in a medium sized bowl.
- In a separate (small) bowl, whisk egg white and molasses. Add to spice mixture, stirring until everything is nicely combined. Fold in pecans with a large spoon until all look evenly coated.
- Set bowl on counter for 10ish minutes to allow flavors to marinate at room temperature.
- After the pecans have marinated, place on parchment paper, making sure there's ample space between each to prevent "sticking."
- Adjust oven rack so that it is on the second level from the top. Bake pecans at 275F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, then bake another 25 minutes. When done, pick up parchment paper and place pecans onto cooling rack.
- Note: The pecans may feel a little sticky at first, but allow to cool for 20 minutes (or longer) and they should be nice and crunchy. Enjoy!
Need another healthy holiday recipe?
Check out my recipe for green gumbo (gumbo z’herbes) and stay tuned for some delicious vegan recipes I plan to post in January!