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Pecans, a nutritious treat any time of the year

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Did you know pecans are considered a heart healthy treat? Not only that, pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc.

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In addition, one ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber. A good source of protein, naturally sodium free and no cholesterol with very few carbs make pecans a real winner.

To crack pecans, this is an easy method. First, pour boiling water over there pecans. Let the pecans stand covered in the water for 4 - 5 minutes, then lightly crack with a nutcracker. Works every time! To store pecans, use these tips:

  • Shelled pecans can be kept in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in the freezer.
  • Airtight containers, such as jars with lids, are best for storing pecans in the refrigerator.
  • Sealed plastic bags are best for storing pecans in the freezer.
  • In-shell pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place for six to 12 months.

Now of course, there are some delicious recipes that use pecans in all sorts of interesting ways. The key is moderation, and sharing. If you bake a pan of pecan brownies, have a taste and share the rest with friends, family and co workers. That way you are able to indulge, on your terms.

Here are some decadently delightful pecan recipes. Enjoy!

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening or 1/3 cup lard
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon, if desired
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans
1 bag (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In medium bowl, mix flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing knives, until particles are size of small peas.
  • Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl.
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary.
  • Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.
  • Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down pie plate, 9 x 1 1/4 inches.
  • Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.
  • Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate.
  • Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate.
  • In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, bourbon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the eggs.
  • Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.
  • Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.
  • Bake pie 40 to 50 minutes or until set.
  • Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours until chilled.

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Cake
Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon or water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
1 cup chopped pecans
Chocolate Glaze:
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
5 to 6 teaspoons boiling water

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 10-inch pan.
  • In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients except pecans with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.
  • Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Stir in pecans. Pour into pan.
  • Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack.
  • Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • In 2-quart saucepan, melt 1 ounce chocolate and 1 teaspoon butter over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in powdered sugar and water until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.
  • Drizzle cooled cake with Chocolate Glaze.

Pecan Pie Brownies
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups very coarsely chopped pecans
1 package Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownie
mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or use cooking spray to coat bottom of 13 x 9-inch rectangular pan.
  • Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan; stir in flour until smooth.
  • Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and 2 eggs until well blended.
  • Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla and pecans.
  • Stir brownie mix, chocolate syrup, water, oil and 3 eggs in medium bowl until well blended.
  • Spread in pan.
  • Spoon pecan mixture evenly over top.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

Pecan Pralines
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups whole pecans
Butter, to grease cookie sheet

  • Place sugars, water and cream in a heavy, medium-size saucepan over moderate heat.
  • Stir often and, using a candy thermometer, cook to soft ball stage (between 234 degrees F and 240 degrees F), about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and beat mixture with an electric mixer in the pot on low setting until creamy, 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the pecans to coat evenly.
  • Using a tablespoon, drop large spoonsfull of praline mixture onto a buttered sheet pan to cool.


Praline Dessert
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy coconut pecan frosting
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
Caramel topping, if desired
Sweetened whipped cream, if desired
Pecan halves, if desired

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In large bowl, stir together dry cake mix and butter.
  • Press evenly in un greased 13 x 9-inch pan.
  • Using same bowl, stir frosting, milk, flour and egg until blended.
  • Pour evenly over mixture in pan.
  • Bake 45 to 47 minutes or until set.
  • Serve warm or cool.
  • Top each serving with remaining ingredients.
  • Store covered in refrigerator.

For more delicious recipes and tips, please see http://www.ilovepecans.org.

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