Now, you may not believe this but I actually go to the gym. It’s not something I enjoy and it’s also not something I do anywhere near often enough (at least according to my personal trainer), but it is something I do regularly.Unfortunately for me, I hate exercise. I’m more your lying-around-on-a-chaise-lounge (nibbling on the salted maple and cinnamon pecans below) kind of girl rather than the bouncy anyone-for-tennis type. The thought of leaping about like a mad thing in zumba, toiling endlessly on a spin bike or sweating from my eyeballs in a Bikram yoga class fills me with horror, but I am committed to keeping my blood moving, however sluggishly, through my veins. Way back in my salad days, when I was a young, thin (oh, you wouldn’t believe how thin) thing the idea of paying someone make me move was laughable – whatever did I need to do that for?! Now I am so very past my prime I’ve found out. 🙁
My personal trainer is a very nice young man, not much older than my son, who gently bullies me through a series of uncomfortable experiences which leave me hot, tired and hungry. Really hungry. I always resist the urge to stop in at the bakery on the way home from the gym, but often find myself desperately scrabbling around in the nether reaches of my pantry looking for serious sustenance – and no, an apple is so not going to cut it.
Last week, on my archaeological foray into the forgotten corners of the dry-goods shelf I found a big bag of pecans that were (mercifully) still within their use-by date. I was ravenous and nuts alone were not enough – but the idea of some fragrantly spiced, sweet nuts was seriously speaking to me. A quick rummage around unearthed a few other ingredients and half an hour later this craving was quickly turned from a concept into Salted Maple and Cinnamon Pecans – a delicious little snack.
This recipe makes up quite a batch of Salted Maple and Cinnamon Pecans, which you could nibble at with a drink – virtuous water for a post-gym drink or gin for post-anything else. I think they’d also make a very happy extra addition on my Honey Orange Chicken with Ras el Hanout or on my Beetroot and Pomegranate Salad. As ever it is a simple recipe to prepare and delicious to eat. I’ll pretend it’s not naughty and you can pretend you never saw this if you run in to my trainer.
Salted Maple & Cinnamon Pecans
- 500 gms pecan halves
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 150C (300F).
- Spread pecans out over baking paper-lined baking trays. Place the pecans in the oven and toast for 8-10 minutes only. Cool briefly.
- Combine melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly. Spread nuts out on the lined baking sheets evenly and return to oven for 20-25 minutes, taking care to check to make sure they aren't burning.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt while still hot and sticky, then spread out on counter or cake rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight jar.