My very best wishes to one and all for a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year.
For years my parents had an annual New Year’s Day party where they served Gløgg, a Norwegian mulled wine. I didn’t continue this tradition, but my brother and sister-in-law did for many years. Recently I found a notebook with my mother’s recipes and notations for many years of that party. This was from 1963.
For each party Mom annotated the amount of shrimp, how many Swedish meatballs she made and what she put on the veggie tray. I don’t know if you could buy a pre-made tray then. She always made her own and one of the items was sliced spiced apples…they were bright red and came in a jar. The 1963 New Year’s Day party had the notation: “Invited 120 people. Half showed up. Lousy weather. Ice. Parking difficult. First guests arrived at 4 promptly. All gone by 7:45.” That year she tripled the recipe below. I suppose they bottled the leftovers which would have lasted a long time. My folks weren’t big drinkers.
That party was in Bethesda a few weeks after I was married for the first time — a week after President John Kennedy was assassinated. I had moved with my new husband to Pennsylvania, so I wasn’t at that party. However, I do remember these get togethers as far back as South Bend, Indiana when my dad taught at Notre Dame.
Here is the recipe for Gløgg.
- 1 gallon port wine
- 2 cups raisins
- 24 whole cloves
- 2 dozen blanched almonds
- 1 stick whole cinnamon
- 2 dozen cardamom
- 2 cups sugar caramelized (Be careful doing this. Very hot.)
- 2 cups boiling water added to sugar when browned
- 1 quart rye whiskey
Brown sugar, add water. Cook wine and spices together for a few minutes. Put sugar mixture in wine. Add whisky. Serve hot. One recipe serves approximately 30 people. Serve sour, tart and meats with gløgg. No sweets or cakes.
If Gløgg doesn’t tempt you, here is my recipe for my Crack Pecans, otherwise called cinnamon sugared pecans. Eat them on a salad or by the handful.
Be advised that checking for crunch in the final stages is where an addiction begins. Consider yourself warned.
Mala’s Crack Pecans (from Cookingclassy.com website who stole it from allrecipes.com where I made tweaks)
- 1 lb pecan halves (4 cups)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp vanilla (up to 1 tbsp)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (can be half white, half brown)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (can add ½ tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp cayenne for kick)
- ½ tsp salt (can be up to 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk egg white with water and vanilla until very frothy. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add pecans to egg white mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour half of the sugar mixture over pecans and toss several times, then add remaining sugar mixture and toss until evenly coated. Pour coated pecans over a parchment paper lined backing sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.
Notes: If you double this recipe you could keep the cinnamon sugar amounts the same. It’s plenty of sweet. If you do this, make it in two batches using two sheet pans. Four cups is just the right amount for one sheet pan. The nuts won’t get crunchy if there are too many on the sheet at one time.
I use sheet pans with a silpat liner. You can also use parchment paper.The sheet pan has sides so the nuts don’t fall out.
The final 15 minutes in the oven is crucial to make them crunchy. I checked them after what I thought was the final time and they still weren’t dry in the middle, so I put them in for another 15 minutes. The first two times you stir them they will be sticky. They may need a little additional time in the oven. Just keep checking for crunch. I like adding that little bit of cayenne for a little heat. If you’re planning to use them as an appetizer with cheese and fruit, you could add more salt as well.