These vibrantly spiced nuts make an addictive nibble — or a great addition to stuffing for the holiday turkey. They can be made ahead and frozen. Note: the four spices — white pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice — are what make up the French spice mixture known as quatre epices, so if you have some of that mix (be sure it is fresh and fragrant), you can use it in place of the four spices.This recipe is part of chef Michael Brisson's Thanksgiving Feast menu.

Makes 4 cups

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 cups pecan halves (about 12 ounces)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup (or ½ cup regular maple syrup)

Up to two weeks ahead:

1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium bowl, toss together the salt, cayenne, white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Add the pecans and toss well.

3. Drizzle the melted butter over the pecans and mix well.

4. Turn the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet, scraping any spices and butter from the bowl and spreading the nuts into one layer.

5. Bake until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes.

6. Drizzle the maple syrup over the nuts, stir to combine, and bake about 10 minutes longer, until the nuts turn glossy and slightly dark.

7. Let the nuts cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then scrape the nuts and any maple drippings into a bowl; break up any large clusters.


Note: If you are making the Wild Rice Stuffing, set aside 2 cups of pecans to use as an hors d’oeuvre; chop the remainder very coarsely. Label and store the chopped nuts (for the stuffing) and the whole nuts (for nibbling) separately in the freezer in zip-top bags.