I took a wreath making class with a couple girlfriends earlier this month and my favorite thing I walked away with was not the wreath (I did my best,) rather, it was the recipe for this decadent, close-your-eyes-and-savor recipe for Spiked Eggnog. Oh my word it is such a treat. My friend Lea, who’d recently made the cocktail with family, was describing it to me as we jammed spruce cuttings into wire wreath frames (harder than it sounds) and I literally could not wait to go home and make it. Rich and creamy eggnog spiked with a little bit of bourbon is poured over a sphere of ice then finished with a dusting of orange zest and cinnamon. I mean, COME ON!! It doesn’t get more festive than that!
That night, as I sat sipping boozy, orangey eggnog on the sofa in front of the fire, I was inspired to make a complimentary nibble and Orange Candied Pecans popped into my mind. I made them not 10 minutes later, and here we are.
The power of a wreath class!
This tasty holiday duo is so incredible you guys – just the thing to round out your year!
Before I go on, the recipe for Orange Candied Pecans with Spiked Eggnog is sponsored by my long time friends at Fisher Nuts. Their all natural, preservative free nuts are staples in my pantry and are must haves for holiday time. From Best Ever Wild Rice Stuffing, to Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, and Caramel Apple Crisp (<< just sent this to my cousin when she asked for a gluten free Christmas day dessert idea) the holidays are nuts’ time to shine! Or something like that. ;)
I buy my Fisher Nuts at HyVee and Walmart, or you can purchase them online.
I love this cocktail / snack duo because eggnog is usually fairly sweet and, despite being candied, the pecans actually aren’t too sweet. I don’t know about you, but when I have a cocktail I like to have something to nibble on, and these candied pecans provide the perfect crunch. Plus, every time you take a sip of the spiked eggnog the scent of orange reaches you first, and so the orange flavor in the pecans mirrors that experience so well. Seriously could not be more in love with this festive little duo!
All you need is 30 minutes or so to whip up then cool the Orange Candied Pecans, and the Spiked Eggnog takes approximately 30 seconds to shake up. Whether you’re wrapping presents, looking for a cozy nightcap, or even making a Christmas wreath, there’s not a holiday evening that can’t be made better by enjoying these treats.
Now, when it comes to casual eggnog enjoyment I much prefer a lighter, almond milk based eggnog. When we’re adding booze, though, I highly recommend you go full fat otherwise the flavor gets a little lost. That said, if you’ve got an allergy or intolerance to dairy I’ve got a little workaround for you. See my tip below!
How to Make Orange Candied Pecans
Start by melting 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1-1/2 Tablespoons orange juice, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus pinches of nutmeg and salt to a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
Once the mixture comes to a bubble, add 1-1/2 cups Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves then stir to coat.
Cook the pecans, stirring frequently, until they’re golden brown and all of the orange/butter/sugar mixture has adhered to the pecan halves, 5-6 minutes. The skillet should appear “dry” vs still having bubbling butter and sugar in it.
Spread the pecans out into a single layer on a silpat or sheet of parchment paper then let them cool. SOO HARD!! You can make the Orange Candied Pecans several days ahead of time.
How to Make Spiked Eggnog
Spiked Eggnog time (aka the best time). To a cocktail shaker filled halfway up with ice, add a scant 2oz bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark) and 6oz eggnog. Again, I personally prefer full fat, local eggnog for this recipe. Go big or go home! That said, if you’ve got an allergy or intolerance and need to go the dairy free route – no problem! You’ll want to use 8oz dairy free eggnog for every 2oz bourbon. Dairy free eggnog is thinner and not as rich as the full fat dairy version so the flavor gets overpowered by the bourbon if you only use 6oz dairy free eggnog.
Shake the drink until well chilled then strain into two rocks glasses with ice spheres and top with orange zest plus a sprinkling of cinnamon. SO FESTIVE you guys!!!
Serve the Spiked Eggnogs with the cooled Orange Candied Pecans and ENJOY. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the company, enjoy the season! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you from me!
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Orange Candied Pecans with Spiked Eggnog
Orange Candied Pecans with Spiked Eggnog is the Christmas snack and cocktail duo you do not want to miss! This seasonal pairing is a flavorful, tasty treat!
- For the Orange Candied Pecans:
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons orange juice
- 1 packed teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1-1/2 cups Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves
- For the Spiked Eggnog:
- scant 2oz bourbon (I use Maker's Mark)
- 6oz eggnog (see notes)
- For the Orange Candied Pecans: Add brown sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a medium skillet over medium heat. Once mixture is bubbling, add pecans then cook, stirring frequently, until pecans are golden brown and all of the orange-sugar mixture has adhered to the nuts, 5-6 minutes. Spread nuts out onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper, separating them as best as possible, then cool completely.
- For the Spiked Eggnog: Add bourbon and eggnog to a shaker filled halfway up with ice then shake to chill. Pour into two rocks glasses with ice spheres then garnish with orange zest and/or cinnamon. Serve with Orange Candied Pecans.
- I have tested this recipe using almond milk eggnog - since it is much less rich, and thinner than regular eggnog, I recommend increasing the amount of eggnog to 8oz per ~2oz bourbon.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.