We all know how delicious fresh pecans can be, which is why many of us probably choose butter pecan ice cream flavors at our favorite dessert spot. But what exactly is butter pecan, and why is it so popular?
The Natural Flavor of Fresh Pecans
It can be hard to describe the natural flavor of fresh pecans when asked. Like other nut varieties, the pecan can be described as sweet and fatty but takes on a different flavor when roasted or used in our favorite sweet or savory recipes.
Butter pecan is a flavor combination of pecans, butter, and pure vanilla flavoring, making this a sweet treat you want to bite your teeth into. Pecan pralines are another popular treat option using pecans. However, pecan pralines are much sweeter and more sugar forward compared to butter pecan. They have a flavor and texture that is more similar to caramel fudge.
A Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Butter pecan has been a long-running ice cream flavor favorite for many southerners and is considered a classic. It combines the nutty flavor of fresh pecans with roasted pecan undertones and the distinct flavor of sweet vanilla.
Many butter pecan recipes you find will tell you to roast your pecans with butter and sugar. The sugar is added during the ice cream-making process. The foundation of any good butter pecan is going to be roasting.
Best Way to Roast Pecans
So, you want to try your hand at making your favorite ice cream flavor at home? Well, here is the best way to roast your fresh pecans. Remember, the best thing to do is keep things as simple as possible.
Start by toasting your pecans or pecan pieces in butter. The ratio to remember here is one tablespoon of butter per cup of pecans. Do this for five to seven minutes on medium-high heat. Make sure to remove the pecans from the heat before they burn.
Pecans are already flavorful because of their high oil content, so the butter is just going to add this already rich and delicious flavor. Because of the high oil content, you can also get away with roasting the pecans without the added butter or any additional oil.
All you need is a light toasting, and you will unlock the nutty goodness. Pro tip: a cast-iron skillet works wonders for this process.
If you want butter pecan but don't want ice cream, you can use your pecans for other recipes, including butter pecan cupcakes, cake, cheesecake, frosting, cookies, or even a browned butter pecan pasta sauce.
So, as you can see, butter pecan is just as described: the perfect combination of butter and fresh pecans. What recipes are you going to try? Let us know! Don't want to roast the pecans yourself? You can purchase roasted salted pecans online and cut out some of the work.