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Posted on Apr 30, 2015 |

Rita’s Recipe: Candied Pecans and Favorite Punch

Rita’s Recipe: Candied Pecans and Favorite Punch

candied pecans

Candied pecans make wonderful wedding favors — or tasty treats any time.

Weddings during Bible times

Jesus performed a miracle at the Cana wedding so we know weddings were highly celebrated occasions just like they are today. The tradition of engagement rings began in ancient Rome but had nothing to do with either fashion or love.

The groom gave a ring to his bride-to-be as a public mark that a contract of engagement had been made between the two families.

The ring was made of iron and once given, the promise to marry became legally binding and engagement traditions meant that only death was an acceptable reason for not continuing to marriage.  For that reason the ring was a very plain, undecorated band made not of gold but of iron – a symbol of the lasting and unbreakable contract.

It was also a public sign that the woman was about to pass from the ownership of one man – her father – to another – her husband, and for that reason men did not wear any form of engagement or wedding band.

Wedding attire

Depending upon custom and location, the groom wore a crown or garland on his head: Isaiah 61:10:  “As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland.”

A young woman’s jewelry was part of her dowry. She was lavishly dressed, too.

The wedding banquet was one of the most joyous occasions.

Again, depending upon custom and location, at a wedding feast they were more likely to eat the more expensive meats available to them.  Beef was the most luxurious. Fowl was also extremely popular. Garden produce was part of the feast and wine was diluted before drinking.

The  wedding “cake” was nothing like we have today. It was usually a hearth-baked kind of bread.

Desserts at ancient Roman weddings consisted of fruit and nuts and given to guests as a gift to take home. And that’s where the modern tradition of giving wedding favors comes from.

Candied Pecans

Awesome as a shower or wedding favor to take home. These are good keepers, covered at room temperature.  Delicious on springtime salads or as a topping for ice cream.

  • 3 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar – I used light
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Mix together sugar, water, vanilla, and salt. It will look grainy. Set aside.

Toast pecans in dry skillet for several minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. They’re done when they give off a nice aroma. Drizzle sugar mixture on top, stirring as you drizzle. Keep stirring until nuts are all coated. This takes about a minute. Immediately spread nuts on sprayed pan in single layer to cool. They’ll look sticky but coating will harden and nuts can be broken apart after they cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

And if you don’t have time to try making these yourself, try these from St. Benedict Monastery in Texas!

My Favorite Iced Tea Punch

You’ll be surprised at how delicious this is, with a bit of a zing. Perfect for a shower or wedding or any gathering.

Stir together:

  • 1 cups lemon flavored iced tea mix
  • 2 two liter bottles of ginger ale
  • Oranges and lemons thinly sliced to float on top


Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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