Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

OHMYGOSH. I am so jazzed (do people still say jazzed?) to share this recipe with you! I fell in love with Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans over the holidays. They're crunchy, chocolatey, a little sweet, a little spicy...and pretty much irresistible. I recreated the recipe to make them at home any time of year!

Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans are a Holiday Item.

Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

What does this mean? They're only available for a limited time. If you're curious if something is a holiday item, it will normally be noted with "HOL" on your receipt. But, I think all of us Trader Joe's lovers know that products rotate in and out. Fun for discovering new items, sad when a favorite goes missing. 


Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe


So, since these were a limited edition offering, I stocked up. I've been eating them a few at a time, and I was saving the last few for comparison when I attempted to recreate them. I woke up the morning testing was to begin and couldn't find the bag I'd stashed away. I asked my husband, "Hey, have you seen those spiced cocoa pecans?" Him: "Yeah, I finished off what was left in the bag last night." Alrighty then. Good thing by that point, I'd probably consumed about 4 entire bags on my own and could remember precisely what they taste like.


How I went about recreating the cocoa spiced pecans recipe...

I make some sort of spiced pecans every year at Christmas. Whether it's Lone Star Pecans or Cinnamon Sugar Pecans (or both!), I'm making candied pecans. I'd never had cocoa pecans until buying these at Trader Joe's, so I first went to one of the chocolate experts - Hershey's. They do have a recipe on their site for cocoa glazed pecans. I knew this wasn't it as the Trader Joe's pecans don't have chili powder, and their recipe didn't have any salt. 


Next, I really studied the ingredient list on the Trader Joe's package. Powdered sugar AND granulated sugar. Canola oil. Hmmm. Tapioca syrup. Hmmm. These gave me some ideas of ingredients to try in my testing. 


I tested without the soaking. I tested with different amounts of cayenne. I tested without toasting in a skillet. I tested with varying times in the oven. 

Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

After a few tries - VOILA! I think this is as close to a homemade version of Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans as you can get! I'm just as smitten with these as I am the storebought version. And they'll hold me over until the next holiday season. 


How to make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans


how to make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

how to  make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

Start by mixing powdered sugar with water and giving the pecans a little soak. 


how to make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

Use this time to combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and spices. Cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne is a flavor profile I need to revisit in more applications! For the cocoa, use Dutch or natural - either is fine.


Why use date syrup?

olive oil and date syrup

You'll also be using olive oil and date syrup. I know date syrup isn't a staple in most kitchens, but I am asking you to trust me on this purchase. I keep organic Just Date syrup in my pantry at all times, as a matter of fact, I buy them two at a time from Amazon. I use it all the time in smoothies, energy balls, oatmeal, sunflower butter, savory sauces (think Asian dishes, salad dressings, dipping sauces), etc., etc. 


Date syrup is a great natural sweetener and has a low glycemic index. It's rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as packing an antioxidant punch! Read more about date syrup on Bon Appetit's Healthyish.


If you must substitute for the date syrup in this recipe, try maple or tapioca syrup - or even molasses.



how to make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

Drain the pecans and toast in olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the date syrup and cook a bit more. [Side note: I'm really loving these Henckels nonstick pans from Costco. Having a kid about to graduate and move into his first apartment has its advantages. Somehow, we both ended up with new pans.]


how to make Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans


Sprinkle the cocoa mixture over and stir until no dry spots remain and all of the pecans are coated. 


Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

Spread in a single layer onto a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake!


Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

You'll stir them once during baking. The cocoa mixture will dry in the oven, and the pecans will get nice and crispy. Can you see how they look a bit drier in this photo? Let cool before storing. 


Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

How to eat Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans

  1. Eat by the handful!
  2. Sprinkle over yogurt
  3. Put some on a cheese plate
  4. Top ice cream 
  5. Chop and add to oatmeal
  6. Add to salads
  7. ...did I mention eating out of hand?


Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

1 cup water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (Dutch or natural)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon date syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment. 

Whisk powdered sugar into the water. Add pecans and let soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the cocoa powder, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. 

Drain the pecans. Heat olive oil over medium in a nonstick skillet. Add pecans, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in date syrup and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes more. Off heat, pour in the cocoa mixture, and stir until the pecans are coated, and no dry spots remain. 

Spread into a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and toss, spreading back into a single layer. Return to oven and bake 4 minutes more. 

Remove tray from oven and use the corners of the parchment to carefully lift from cookie sheet. Place parchment with pecans on a countertop and let cool completely. Store cooled pecans in an airtight container. 


Copycat Trader Joe's Cocoa Chile Spiced Pecans Recipe

Would you like to see a copycat version of other Trader Joe's items? Let me know in the comments!

SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! If you have a recipe question, please reach out on twitter or instagram. :)

Blogger Template by pipdig