2 Simple Treats: Peanut Butter No Bakes & Cinnamon Candied Pecans

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming! Tis the season for potlucks, carry-ins, parties, and family gatherings.  You’re not the chef of the group, but you nevertheless always end up with the task of “Oh, just make something simple – I’m sure it will be great!”, right?  I’m here to help.  I’ve got for you two can-do-no-wrong recipes that I dare you to say you won’t love.  Seriously, they’re that quick and easy – and probably the tastiest thing your non-cooking butt will put in your mouth all season!

Apologies in advance to those with nut allergies.  Both of these recipes have nuts.  For something festive, easy, and non-nutty, check out these awesome 15 Minute Microwave Holiday Caramels (YES, MICROWAVE!) from HowDoesShe.com.  Then make yourself a dentist appointment.  For the rest of you nuts, I give to you The World’s Best Peanut Butter No Bakes and Cinnamon Frosted Sweet Pecans.

Before you turn your nose up at the implied simplicity of these two, dare I say, delicacies – let me tell you this: these puppies are the first two things that ALWAYS fly off my holiday trays.  I constantly get requests for the recipes.  I’ve even been offered cold, hard cash to make them for holiday events.  I love cash, I do, but I want you to see how easy these are to make.  Consider this your Christmas gift from yours truly.  I love you and you’re welcome.

First up, heaven.  I mean, Peanut Butter No Bakes.  Alright, so no-bake cookies aren’t the fanciest. I know. But they ARE the tastiest – or at least, these are.  If you’re a peanut butter love, you’ll need to restrain yourself here or you might not make it out the door with any cookies.  I’d like to give credit where credit’s due, but I’ve been making these for so long that I just make them from memory at this point.  I have no idea where the recipe came from.

No Bake Peanut Butter CookiesPBNoBakeFinished

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peanut butter (creamy or chunky – creamy makes for a MUCH nicer texture, though)
  • 4.5 cups Rice Krispies (or other crisp rice cereal)

DIRECTIONS

  • Cook the sugar and corn syrup in a medium sized pot over medium heat for one minute.  Really. Just one minute. (Preheat your pot so you’re sure it’s actually at medium heat)  Remove from heat and add the vanilla.  Stir to combine.
  • Add peanut butter to the liquid and stir until well combined.  Then add all of your cereal and, again, stir until evenly coated.

Add PBStirUntilSmoothAddCereal

  • Drop by the spoonful (or handful, or fistful, or however big you want your cookies to be) onto wax paper.  Leave to cool.

DropOnCookieSheet

  • They’ll still be slightly soft when done, but not sticky.  The number of cookies you get from this recipe depends on how large you make them. I can easily get 50+ out of one batch.

That’s it.  Honestly.  Your house will smell like peanut butter heaven, too.  I store these in the fridge, especially if I’m planning to take them somewhere with me, because they firm up a bit more than if you leave them out.  Also, I think they’re quite tasty when chilled.

BONUS USE:   These make a great base to more involved treats.  Instead of dropping them into cookies, you can press them into a sheet pan, baking dish, or just form into a rectangle on a sheet of wax paper.  Put in the fridge to cool/harden, and then top with whatever you’d like – more peanut butter goodness (a la peanut butter bars), drizzle with chocolate, add some caramel – the sky’s the limit!  Then, cut into squares or use cookie or muffin cutters to portion out.  Yum.

 

Cinnamon Frosted Sweet Pecans

FinishedNuts

You know those awesome candied pecans you get in the cylindrical plastic baggies at fairs, circuses, flea markets, farmer’s markets, and gas stations?  They smell like heaven and taste like it, too.  Maybe you’ve seen them in almond form as well.  You just can’t beat them.  This version of them is not sticky when they’re finished cooking, they freeze well, and they are much easier to make than your circus and county fair counterparts would have you believe.  Again, I make these from memory, so I don’t have a specific link to share with you for credit.  HOWEVER, if you enjoy these, I do encourage you to do some Googling – there are TONS of similar recipes out there with different spice, flavor, and nut combinations, and they’re totally worth trying out.

INGREDIENTS:

PecanIngredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4cup sugar
  • 1T ground cinnamon
  • 1t salt (I use fine sea salt, but you can use table salt or any other kind of salt you like)
  • 1 pound pecan halves

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  If you’d like to make life easier when it comes to stirring the nuts, go ahead and line TWO baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat your egg white and water with a whisk until frothy.  Combine your sugar, cinnamon, and salt (either in a separate bowl or in a plastic bag) and then whisk into egg mixture.  Make sure all the ingredients are combined and smooth. StirToCombineWell
  • Add pecans to mixture and toss/stir well until coated – don’t be rough, you don’t want to break the pecans into little pieces.
  • Arrange pecans in a single layer on baking sheets, using your fingers or forks (or spatulas) to separate the nuts. NutsOnCookieSheet
  • Bake until pecans start to brown (very lightly) and are completely dried.  This will take between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes.  Be sure to stir the nuts every 15 minutes so they cook evenly.  The first few times you stir them, it will be sticky and messy and hard to stir – but they WILL dry out more each time and become much easier to manage.  KeepStirring
  • Remove from oven and make sure to immediately transfer nuts from baking sheets to counter (onto waxed paper or aluminum foil) to cool completely.  Make sure to separate any clumps of nuts so you’re not stuck with big balls of nuts.  LetCoolCompletely
  • Enjoy! Or store in an airtight container on the counter.  Or freeze.  These freeze well.

I’ll be honest. I don’t even like pecans.  At all.  But these?  These are the bee’s knees and I try to make them every year.  They’re great to give as gifts or party favors, too – include the recipe on a hand written recipe card.

 

The last step in both of these recipes is the same:  Run – don’t walk – to your nearest gym and make good on your as-yet-unmade-but-upcoming New Year’s resolution! 😉

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