This past December we went home to Michigan, as we usually do, for the holidays. Lovey’s family especially makes the most amazingly delicious food, and his mom has always been an inspiration in her cooking and baking abilities. Tradition is big during the holidays, and there’s no shortage of the traditional sugar cookies, peanut butter fudge, snickerdoodles, peanut brittle, and of course all kinds of pie. But there’s also an air of adventure and novelty in the Weston household, and so there are new dishes to mix with the old, adding a layer of excitement to the heart-warming traditions in the same way a touch of cayenne and cinnamon can spice of hot chocolate.
One of the new items Lovey’s mom made this year was something so simple and yet so ingenius it stayed with me long after we returned to Biscuitburgh. They were sweetened pecans, just pecans and honey and a pinch of cayenne pepper, though you couldn’t really taste the cayenne – it was subtle. Since Lovey loves pecan pie, I had two large bags of leftover pecans from baking at Thanksgiving, and the sweetened pecans really appealed to me, I thought maybe I’d mix him up a Valentine’s Day treat. Man, are these things unbelievably rich and addictive.
They’re gluten free, since none of the ingredients I used contained wheat or gluten. They’re not necessarily healthy, but they are a nice treat.
Divine Chocolate Turtle Doves
- Pecans, no added seasonings, salt, or coatings
- 1 tsp Pumpkin pie spice (trust me on this)
- 1 pinch (<1/4 tsp) Cayenne pepper powder or red pepper powder
- Dark chocolate chips or chunks
- Wax, freezer, or parchment paper
- Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper
- Place the pecans in a mixing bowl
- With a metal spoon, stir in honey, just enough until the pecans are lightly coated
- Sprinkle the pumpkin pie spice and cayenne powder over the pecans until evenly dispersed
- With a tablespoon, spoon the mixture into mounds on the wax paper
- Place the dark chocolate chips/chunks in a microwave-safe bowl
- Microwave them in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until thoroughly melted (it took me about 5 intervals, or 2.5 minutes)
- Spoon the chocolate over the pecan mounds until mostly covered
- Place the treats in the freezer for at least an hour to set up
- For best results, store in fridge or freezer