Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spiced Pecans

Are you looking for a gift to make the special PWD (person with diabetes) in your life this holiday season? Spiced nuts are a Christmas tradition, but ordinary recipes call for nearly 1 cup of sugar, which turns what should be a low-carb snack into a high one! The truth is that some sugar is necessary to achieve the crispy coating, but most can be exchanged with a sugar substitute and the taste results are exactly the same as the traditional recipe. Even people on your gift list that aren't watching their carbs don't need all that sugar, so this recipe is for everyone!

The most surprising thing about this snack is the health benefits you and your friends will receive. Pecans are a good source of Omega-6 fatty acids, containing about half as much as walnuts. Clinical research has shown that eating a handful of pecans per day can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) similar to what is seen with cholesterol-lowering medications. Pecans are also a good source of zinc, manganese, magnesium, vitamin B1 and iron. Who would have guessed that so much LOVE and GOOD FORTUNE accompany this easy-to-prepare holiday treat?

Spiced Pecans
(Makes 16 servings)

1 tablespoon butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ cup Splenda granular
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cold water
1 pound of pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 275-degrees. With your fingers, spread softened butter over the entire cookie sheet; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, Splenda, spices and salt with a fork. In a small bowl, beat the egg white and water together. Add the egg white mixture to the dry ingredients and stir into a paste.

3. With a fork or rubber spatula, stir in ½ of the pecans and gently fold until coated. Add the rest of the pecans and continue stirring and folding until all the pecans are coated with the sugar-egg mixture. Spread in one layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until coating is crisp and golden brown.

4. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature while on the cookie sheet. Carefully break apart any pecans clusters and store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per ¼ cup serving: 204 calories, 4.1 g carbohydrate, 21.1 g total fat, 2.2 g saturated fat, 42.5 mg sodium, 2.8 g fiber, 2.8 g protein.

Variation: Aztec Cocoa Pecans
Omit the ginger, add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and add an additional ½ tablespoon Splenda to the dry ingredients. To the egg white add an additional 1 teaspoon water. Proceed according to above directions.

Recipes by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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