Deez Nuts – Perfect Cocktail Party Snack

I can make a meal out of appetizers and snacks and I am always on the lookout for something different. These nuts fit the bill! Sweet and slightly spicy, these nuts hit all the right notes. Incredibly easy to make and simply addictive, they are perfect any time of year, but are really fantastic during the holidays.

Our old neighbor in South Carolina, Mackenzie Sholz, gifted me with these delightful mouthfuls in 1994 and I begged for the recipe. The original called for walnuts and corn oil, but Mackenzie used pecans so I have always made them that way. I switched up the corn oil with coconut oil and the flavor is even better than the original. I do caution you, however, as Mackenzie did me, “Make two batches at once because you’ll find yourself digging in while they are cooling.”


1 lb pecan halves

1/2 c sugar

2-1/2 T coconut oil

1/2 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1-1/4 t ground cumin

1/4 t coriander

1/2 t ground ginger

1/4 t ground cloves

1/2 t chili powder (pick your favorite – I’ve used Ancho, Aleppo and “regular” chili powder all with success)


Preheat oven to 325.


Mix oil and sugar in a large bowl that has a lid. It will look like a paste.


Blanch nuts in boiling H2O for 1 minute and drain well.


While nuts are still hot, dump into the lidded bowl with oil and sugar and stir or shake well to coat the nuts.. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.


Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet (wash the bowl and dry it, you’ll need it again).  Bake 30-45 minutes depending on your pans (heavier pans require longer baking time), stirring every 10- 15 minutes. The nuts should look dark golden brown and all of sugar syrup should be crystallized.


While the nuts are baking, blend the spices. I use whole spices whenever possible and grind them freshly for each batch. It really makes a difference. If you want to go the extra mile, slightly toast your whole spices in a dry skillet and allow to cool before grinding to release even more flavor.


When nuts are brown and crispy, put into the lidded bowl with the spices.  Put the lid on the bowl and shake to coat the nuts.


Spread nuts in a single layer to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks – if they last that long.

Curried spiced pecans are easy to make, and disappear quickly.

Perfect Pecan Pie

I love a pie. I especially love pecan pie (and for the record I say PEEcan, not puh-khan). Frankly too often pecan pie is really sugary and way too sweet. Soooo, I reworked an old recipe to reduce the sugary-ness and increase the flavor and each time I serve it, it’s a hit. With the baking season upon us and potlucks galore, enjoy this. The end result LOOKS way more complicated than it is. This is a recipe that doubles easily so you can make 2 at the same time. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or drizzle with cold heavy cream. Each slice (1/8 of a pie can be warmed in a microwave oven in about 15 seconds) prior to serving.

Pecan Pie

makes one 9” pie

3 Tbsp unsalted butter – DO NOT substitute margarine.

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

¾ C sugar

3 eggs

¾ C dark Karo® corn syrup

¼ C molasses (either regular or robust – depending on your taste)

2/3 C chopped pecans

A heavy pinch of salt

Pecan halves to decorate the top

1 unbaked 9” pie crust


Preheat oven to 450. Roll out pie crust and have it ready to go.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat first 3 ingredients until light and fluffy. It will not look like the beginning of cookie dough; it will be more granular. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time until well incorporated, scraping bowl as necessary. Reduce speed again and gradually add first the corn syrup and then the molasses, scraping bowl as necessary. Fold in chopped pecans.

Pour into pie crust and bake for 10 minutes at 450. A crisp shell will develop on top while the middle stays syrupy. CAREFULLY remove from oven and reduce temp to 350. Decorate the top of your pie with the pecan halves. They will sink into the filling a bit as it continues to cook.

Return to oven and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting. If you cut it while hot it will ooze all over the place. It needs to cool completely to allow the sugars to set up.

See how the top is puffed up? It will sink down and flatten out as it cools.

See how the top is puffed up? It will sink down and flatten out as it cools.