Billy Wagers, there in Berea, gives me several packages of shelled pecans every year during the holidays and it has gotten to the point over the last decade or so that I look forward to the nuts about as much as any other aspect of Christmas even though I rarely see Billy during the exchange. He sends them to me by our mutual pal, Larry Chadwell, who lives close enough to us that Loretta and I can call him and his wife, Linda, both friends and neighbors.
Usually there are a couple bags of whole kernels and two or three that are cracked and crumbled.
We munch on the whole kernels or use them in fruitcakes and the smaller pieces typically go into brownies and pies and such. There’s no visible end to the number of tasty and creative things one can do in the kitchen with a bunch of pecans.
For instance, sometime back, Loretta came home with several mini-muffins that our good friend and neighbor, Connie Brown (Mrs. Joe), had brought to The Countryside Homemakers Club meeting that night. Sometimes I find myself reminding my wife that she has a Homemakers’ meeting coming up next week that we need to plan around because I don’t want her missing it in case there are leftovers she can bring home from whatever the ladies are eating that night. I’m not particularly interested in all the other stuff and skill development that might be on the agenda, but I can certainly bear witness to the fact that this bunch of women can do some mighty fine cooking.
Anyway, Connie’s creation that night was called Pecan Pie Muffins and the only bad thing about them was that Loretta did not come home with nearly as many as I could have devoured.
For months now, I have aggravated her about making some for us, and, finally last week, she got around to it because a bag of Billy Wagers’s chopped pecans was staring her down from the kitchen counter and begging to be used. The end result was too good to keep to myself so I’m going to share the recipe here in case somebody wants to make their own. I can’t promise you that this is Connie Brown’s exact recipe, but it turned out close enough to suit yours truly. Here’s the basic recipe, but Loretta doubled it because she knows me all to well.
PECAN PIE MUFFINS: 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup brown sugar, packed, ½ cup all purpose flour, 2 large eggs, 1 and 1/3 sticks melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Place paper liners in 9 regular muffin (cupcake) pan cups or at least 24 minimuffin pan cups. You can find either at most grocery stores. If you don’t want to use the oh-so-handy paper liners, be sure to coat your baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and flour and make a well in the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whip the eggs until frothy, add the melted butter and stir to combine. Pour the butter/ egg mixture into the well you made in the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Do not overstir. Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them almost full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean — about 20 minutes in our oven. (Cupcake size may take a little longer and mini-muffin size a little less time.)
Loretta got over 3 dozen mini muffins by doubling the recipe and I believe she intends to make another batch for Billy Wagers and Larry Chadwell when she can catch me gone long enough for our friends to actually have a shot at getting some of them.