Lately I have been combining chocolate with earthy ingredients like smoked salt. While enjoying some chocolate covered pretzels I had sprinkled with an applewood variety, I had a craving for a strong cup of Earl Grey. Later that night I found myself coming up with these delicious cocoa pecans.
As a poet, I love delving into the meaning of words and the connection between strings of words. Playing with ingredients and their qualities is a process that can be similar to the act of writing. Understand and test the limits of individual parts. Combine them. Take them apart.
Often poets and novelists will say they have to write – that inspiration is compelling – and I fully agree. The spark to develop a new recipe is similar. It’s the reason why I find myself in the kitchen late at night, with a warm oven and a tray of toasty pecans.
1 ½ cups of strong Earl Grey tea
1 cup of pecan halves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Flavored with bergamot, a citrus tree that blossoms during winter, Earl Grey tastes like this time of year. I recommend finding a smoky variety and brewing it strong so that the pecans soak up lots of great flavor before being tossed around in the cocoa rub.
Begin by steeping 1 ½ cups of strong Early Grey tea. Soak the pecans in the mixture for 2 hours. In the meantime, mix together the sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon and set aside.
Once the pecans have soaked, drain them and allow them to sit in a strainer for about 15 minutes so that most of the liquid escapes. Toss the pecans with the sweetened cocoa mixture until all of it has adhered.
Bake the cocoa-covered nuts at 250 degrees for about 45 minutes or until they are roasted and dry to the touch.