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Reindeer Pecan Brownies

Reindeer Pecan Brownies

The holidays are filled with delicious food – from indulgent breakfasts to decadent desserts – but snacks can get overlooked. Spice up this holiday season with festive snacks that are perfect for a quick on-the-go bite or a taste of your favorite holiday dessert.

Although beloved in pie, pecans are a versatile nut that can be used beyond the pie shell – add them to a snack mix, incorporate them into granola or munch on them straight from the bag. Delicious and nutritious, 1 ounce of pecans offers 3 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber, plus 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fats and only 2 grams of saturated fat – perfect to power you through long days of holiday shopping.

This holiday season, nosh on a handful of these spiced Gingerbread Pecans for a sweet and savory snack while decorating the house or wrapping presents late at night, or set out a bowl for the family to enjoy.

You can also make snack-sized versions of your favorite holiday desserts to have on-hand when you’re craving a quick and tasty treat. Chopped pecans add a flavorful and nutrient-dense crunch to these paleo-friendly No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites, while pecan halves provide a festive touch to these Reindeer Pecan Brownies.

Discover more nutritious, delicious and festive recipes at AmericanPecan.com.

Reindeer Pecan Brownies

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 20 brownies

Nonstick cooking spray 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon pecan or canola oil

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

20 raw pecan halves, cut in half

40 candy eyeballs

20 red chocolate candies 1/4 cup chocolate chips Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In large bowl, whisk melted butter, oil and sugar until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is thick and pale in color, about 1 minute.

Sift in flour and cocoa powder. Add espresso powder, if desired, and salt. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined. Batter should be thick.

Using 1-tablespoon cookie scoop, transfer batter to prepared mini muffin tin. Bake 13-15 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean, with some lingering crumbs.

Add chocolate chips to heat-proof bowl; microwave until smooth and melted. Pour melted chocolate into sandwich bag and cut off small portion of one corner to use as tip. Use melted chocolate to “glue” on pecan antlers, candy eyeballs and red candy noses to brownies.

Allow chocolate to set before transferring brownies to airtight container.

Note: Brownies will stay fresh for up to three days.

Gingerbread Pecans

Gingerbread Pecans

Gingerbread Pecans

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 cups (6 servings)

1 large egg white, beaten
2 cups raw pecan halves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons gingerbread spice blend
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, use fork to whisk beaten egg until frothy. Add pecans and stir until coated. Sprinkle pecans with granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingerbread spice and salt. Stir to coat evenly. Spread pecans in even layer on prepared baking sheet.

Bake pecans 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow pecans to cool completely.

Note: Pecans can be stored in airtight container for up to four days.

No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites

No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites

No-Bake Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bites

Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 bites (6 servings)

1 1/2 cups raw pecan pieces
3/4 cup pitted medjool dates (about
7 dates), soaked in hot water
10 minutes
1 pinch pink salt
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 pinch pink salt
1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)
12 raw pecan halves, for topping

To make crust: In food processor, process pecan pieces, drained dates and salt until combined and “dough” starts to form into ball.

To make filling: In bowl, combine pumpkin puree, coconut milk, pumpkin spice, maple syrup, pink salt and collagen peptides, if desired. Whisk until smooth.

Line cupcake tin and evenly distribute crust mixture, about 1 1/2 tablespoons in each cupcake opening. Use fingers to press crust into even layer.

Evenly disperse pumpkin pie filling among openings until tins are about half full.

Top each with one pecan half and place in freezer at least one hour.

 Make a gilded pumpkin vase for Thanksgiving


Halloween is over, but those uncarved orange pumpkins and heirloom gourds on your porch or mantel can have a new purpose and life for a fresh decor look right now — as well as serve as a stunning centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. Coat them with an artistic gold shine, then hollow them with kids’ assistance for a natural vase.

If you don’t have any pumpkins, they are still abundant and cheap this month at farms, garden centers and in the produce section of grocery stores. A medium size pumpkin is ideal for a centerpiece, but you might think about gilding mini pumpkins, too. Transform them into alluring votive candleholders to add a seasonal sparkle on your table or buffet between the turkey, cranberries and pies.

Here are three simple steps for making a gilded pumpkin floral arrangement:

1. On a newspaper-covered surface, an adult should cut off the top with stem of a medium-size, firm and smooth pumpkin, creating an opening that is 4-5 inches in diameter. Save the top portion. Kids can dig in and scoop out the pulp and seeds with their hands and a spoon. Wash the outside with a damp cloth. Let dry.

2. On a newspaper-covered surface outside, an adult should spray the exterior of the pumpkin and the cut-off top portion and stem with gold metallic spray paint available at craft and hardware stores. Let dry.

3. Line the inside of the pumpkin with foil or plastic wrap. Place a chunk of damp florist foam trimmed to fit snuggly in the hollowed-out portion. Kids may poke trimmed stems of flowers, leaves and twigs into the foam, one at a time, until the arrangement is complete. Set on an attractive waterproof plate.

4. For an added touch, poke a florist pick or trimmed skewer into the center of the saved top and stem of the pumpkin. Poke the opposite end into the side of the rim.

5. Add water to the foam as necessary to keep flowers fresh.

Bonus Idea: For golden pumpkin votive candleholders for your table, set a tea light and its metal casing or glass tea light jar inside the carved out cavity, or use a battery-operated tea light. An adult should always be present when burning candles.

Note: Acrylic paint in a metallic gold shade also works if you prefer not to use spray paint, although it takes longer to dry and may require an additional coat.

Donna Erickson’s latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Fun-stuff for Families.”

© 2020 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.

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