Thursday, November 28, 2013

King Ranch Young Cinnamon Pecans Recipe

Click here if you want to skip over my Thanksgiving blather and just view the recipe!

I can't believe I am posting a blog on Thanksgiving Day. I've been up since 4:00 AM with Brian - he was up to (WHAT ELSE) go hunting this morning. I got up because - of course - it's Thanksgiving Day and I need to be in the kitchen, getting ready!

Except... everything's ready. I'm looking around my kitchen, thinking... okay, I guess I could run the dishwasher.... and scrub the stove again... 

I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my house... and it's pretty much all done. At 6:30 in the morning! My table is set. My Christmas decorations are up. And... I'm even showered! GASP!

Shockingly, I think having a child may be helping solve my procrastination problem. I thought FOR SURE that this would be the year that I was REALLY scrambling, especially with our power being out almost all last week. I pretty much just had last Saturday and this week to make the side dishes and desserts. And it's really tricky to bulldoze through a big menu prep with a toddler toddling around.

(I should mention... my mom is taking care of the turkey and gravy. Now THAT is AWESOME, because for some reason I cannot make a decent bird.)

Anyway, it turns out that when you think nothing will be hindering you from accomplishing something last minute, you typically leave it until the last minute (if you're me, that is). Somehow I got it through my head that I needed to have things done ahead of time... and they are.

So here's what's in my fridge, ready to be baked later.

Pioneer Woman's Thanksgiving Stuffing (with the addition of apples and sausage)
Real Simple's Spinach and Gruyere Gratin
Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole (double batch, of course!) with
Pioneer Woman's Onion Strings for topping (wrapped separately in the freezer, for last minute assembly)
Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls (to come out of the freezer at 10 AM, hopefully enough time to thaw and bake for our 4 PM dinner)
Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes (already in the slow cooker crock)
Sweet Potato Casserole (topping frozen separately)
Orangette's Cranberry Cherry Chutney

And because we're not eating until four, some Spinach Artichoke Dip ingredients are chopped and ready for Brian to stop at the store for the cream cheese (this was a last minute decision - I did my grocery shopping last Friday, I promise!)

For dessert, we're having
Grandma Ople's Apple Pie, my way (two of them, and they've been smelling fabulous on my counter since yesterday afternoon)
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
(with a very, very small slice already missing... what can I say?) Pumpkin Cheesecake
Sandy's Cold Oven Pound Cake

And still, with all that, I found myself making another batch of these amazing cinnamon pecans this morning:

Photo credit Bayhill (

My pumpkin cheesecake came out with a big crack, and in trying to find something to disguise it, I noticed this recipe on the back of my King Ranch Young Pecan bag (which is a great deal at Sam's Club, by the way). It looked simple enough, and it was! And if you thought making candied nuts was at all complicated, it's definitely not with this recipe. It does require a lot of stirring, but we can all use a workout around this time of year, no?

Except, do yourself a favor and add salt, like I did. It adds a very-much-needed boost of flavor.

King Ranch Young Pecan Cinnamon Pecan Recipe
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecan halves (the bag specifies to use Young Pecan brand, but I suspect you could try another brand) :)

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Dissolve sugar over medium heat. Add pecans and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Cook until pecans are completely sugared with no syrup left in pot. Spread on wax paper to cool. Can be frozen (which is the only way I'm not stuffing my face with them right now).

These would make a great gift! We'll be eating them beside our Spinach Dip and fruit tray, waiting for that beautiful bird to find its way to the table. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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