Cooks Corner: Pecans for all seasons

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, April 2, 2008

By Staff
I'm not sure why April has been declared National Pecan Month, but it is. I would have thought sometime in November would have been a better time to celebrate since that's when you usually gather pecans. For some reason Max Cleland, a senator from Georgia, encouraged the recognition, and it caught on and April was designated as the month of celebration.
In honor of the celebration, I've decided to share some recipes using pecans. After scouring all of the recipes I have in my collection I decided to provide some recipes that would still be great during warmer weather.
The first recipe is for brownies with nuts that would be great with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I don't know about you, but I usually double the amount of pecans called for in any recipe. I have a theory that you can never have too many pecans in a dish.
Turtle Brownies
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 pound whole pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Set aside. Unwrap caramels and place in saucepan with two tablespoons evaporated milk. Melt over medium to low heat, stirring constantly. In a large bowl, combine the remaining evaporated milk, dry cake mix, and melted butter. Stir until well blended. Spread half of this mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove brownies from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips and drizzle melted caramels over the top. Drop remaining cake mixture by teaspoonfuls over all. Return to oven for 20 minutes. Garnish with whole pecans if you'd like.
I have also decided to share a couple of recipes for glazed pecans. Glazed, frosted or coated pecans are great as a snack, but they are also wonderful in fresh garden salad. A lot of people I know use walnuts in their salad, but there are some things that pecans enhance the flavors of in a salad.
Frosted Pecans
1 pound pecan halves
1 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Toast pecans for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Fold sugar, salt and pecans into egg whites. Increase oven temperature to 325 degrees. Melt butter or margarine on a sheet pan. Spread the nut mixture over pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break any clumps into single pieces.
This time of year always gets me in the mood for a cool congealed salad. I have always loved Watergate Salad and since the recipe calls for pecans, I thought I'd share it in this space this week. Again, doubling the pecans in this kind of recipe makes it even better.
Watergate Salad
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix, pineapple with juice, marshmallows, and nuts. Fold in whipped topping. Chill.
If that one sounds pretty good, this next recipe is even better. It does make a larger quantity since it calls for more ingredients. Again, doubling the pecans called for in this recipe would be a great idea. By the way, one way to keep as much flavor in the salad as possible, reserve the juices from the drained fruit and use it instead of water when preparing the gelatin for the recipe.
Congealed Fruit Salad
1 (6 ounce) package fruit flavored gelatin mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
32 ounces large curd cottage cheese
1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments
1 apple – peeled, cored and diced
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained
1 cup chopped pecans
Prepare gelatin according to package directions, substituting 1 cup cold water with 1 cup crushed ice. Place gelatin in freezer until it is almost congealed. Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth. Fold cream cheese into gelatin. Add cottage cheese, fruit cocktail, pineapple, oranges, apples, banana, cherries and walnuts. Mix well. Pour into mold or dish and refrigerate until completely set.
I hope that you'll get a chance to try a couple of these recipes. Pecans are really good no matter what time of year it is so I'm ready to stir up a few recipes myself.
If you have a tip or recipe please let me know. You can give me a call, drop by the office or email the information to me. Our address is 407 St. Nicholas Ave. and our number is 867-4876. If you prefer to use email send your items to me at
Until next week, happy cooking!

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