honey chipotle pecans and other host gift ideas

16 Nov

It never fails that once Halloween comes, the rest of the holidays come barreling at us like freight trains. I cannot believe we are already into the throws of wish lists, holiday menu planning and family gathering calendar management.

It is the time of year where many of us have lots of social outings with friends, celebrations with family and festive holiday parties. I may be a bit old school, but I like to bring a gift to whomever may be hosting said gatherings.  I think it is such a nice gesture that is always appreciated. Hosting is hard work. It may be work that some people enjoy (myself included) but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Getting a gift doesn’t make hosting easier, but it certain doesn’t hurt.

Below are some of my favorite ideas for hostess gifts to use through the season.

Store-Bought Gifts:

  • The classic bottle of wine is almost always a good choice….if you know they appreciated wine. Be sure to let them know that the bottle does not need to be served that evening.
  • Fancy or cool hand soap for the kitchen or bathroom (Caldrea has some great ones)
  • Candles – I like the soy based ones and typically would pick one that comes with it’s own holder, like a jar candle for the kitchen.
  • Good tea or coffee – again, if they like tea or coffee.

Homemade Gifts:

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that homemade gifts are my favorite. Taking the time to make something yourself with the host in mind is one of the most thoughtful things you can do and will ensure future invitations to their parties. :) Here are some of my current favorites:

  • Granola (both my summer and winter versions make great gifts. I would recommend using colorful dried fruit to make them more festive)

  • Nut Butters – I attempted my first homemade nut butter this past week and I must admit, it was amazing! I made Ashley’s Pumpkin Spiced Almond Butter. It’s the kind of thing I will need to give as gifts, because I could sit down and eat it with a spoon until it’s gone. She has all sorts of recipes for different nut butters. I highly recommend them. By the way, if you invite me to something over the holidays, you’ll likely be getting nut butter. Just saying.

The last idea I want to leave you with is Honey Chipotle Pecans. In our house, we call them crack nuts. Not that I know from experience, but these are addicting like crack.  They are great to have out with drinks, as part of a buffet table and the best as a gift to a host or to anyone you’d like to make smile.


They are spicy and sweet at the same time and I promise people will ask you for the recipe.

Lucky for you, you have it.


Honey Chipotle Pecans

This recipe doubles easily.

2 tbsp honey

1 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (I found mine at Penzey’s and it is key for these nuts)

3/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups pecans

2 tbsp sugar

3/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium skillet, combine honey, chipotle powder and cinnamon over medium heat until melted and combined. Add pecans and stir until coated.

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool slightly (1-2 minutes).


Combine sugar and salt in a bowl, add pecans and toss until coated. Spread out on a piece of parchment paper and cool completely.

Be warned that if you have one…you will have another.

Store in an airtight container.


Do you have any go-to hostess gifts? Do you have a favorite gift that was given to you?


One year ago: Restaurant Review: Bagu


41 Responses to “honey chipotle pecans and other host gift ideas”

  1. Mikalee Byerman November 16, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Well, anything called “crack nuts” I’ll surely try!

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll email when I’m out of rehab… ;)

  2. Teri November 16, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    That jam looks amazing. You are welcome to attend ANY of my holiday parties!! Enjoy the season, looks like you’ll be invited to a lot of events this year. Cheers!


  3. Tara November 16, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Great ideas! I will be making the Homemade Dog Biscuits for all my friends with dogs (and my own puppy) for Christmas. They will love them!


  4. Sophie November 16, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Yum! Those pecans look wonderful. In my dog-loving family, I’m sure the homemade dog biscuits will be a hit! Thanks so much for the recipes.


  5. belleofthecarnival November 16, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Oh! My mouth is watering! It all looks so good! Thank you for the recipes! I can’t wait to test them out!

  6. midnitechef November 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    If only I wasn’t allergic to nuts I would make a batch tonight!

  7. Ashley November 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Whoa. Honey chipotle pecans sound outstanding!! I’m so glad you liked the almond butter…thanks for the shout out!

    • jen November 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

      Liked it would be an understatement. :)

  8. calogeromira November 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Biscuits are always welcome.

  9. Livy Parker November 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Mmmmm, you guys make me hungry!!!

    Brandied jam? Heaven!

  10. zoesays November 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    The pecans look wonderful! I have a toasted pecan recipe that I make at the holidays and it’s a huge hit: it’s simply butter, seasoned salt and aromatic bitters. You pour the concoction over the pecans (after they’ve baked for 15 minutes already), put them back in the oven and toss every five minutes for another 15. It’s one of the flavors that tastes like Christmas.

    • jen November 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

      I’m drooling reading that description!

  11. zoesays November 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    P.S. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

    • jen November 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

      Thanks – we were not expecting it!

  12. healthandswellness November 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    Last year for the holidays I made cranberry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for some work colleagues, but I LOVE the idea of these honey chipotle pecans for this year! Now I must hunt down chipotle powder and find a cute way to package them.

  13. thebasicsbypaulbyrondowns November 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Those sound amazing and looks like the dog thinks so also.


  14. marisol November 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    It’s looks nutty delicious. I love pecans. Thanks for this new recipe. congrats for being freshly press.

  15. lenanozizwe November 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Love the idea of making something special for the pooch in your life.


  16. rsmacaalay November 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Great Ideas! Can you add Christmas pudding to the homemade gifts? LOL.

    You recipe reminds me of those candied nuts (peanut brittle) we always had when I was a child, its impressive how a recipe can bring back time.

  17. violainthekitchen November 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Great post! I love the ideas for homemade hostess gifts, I hate to show up empty handed. Thank you!

    – Viola –

    • jen November 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  18. Claire Houston November 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    The honey chipotle pecans sound good, but I think there’s an error in the recipe. Should the first step include the pecans with the honey & spices? I think it was omitted and it makes it a bit confusing. I am going to try this for a craft fair coming up and I will add the pecans to the honey with the spices, then toss with the salt/sugar mix. Thanks for the recipe, even if it is a little confusing!

    • jen November 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

      Claire – thanks for catching that. I’ve now updated the recipe. Yes, you mix the pecans with the honey and spices, then bake, then toss with the salt/sugar mix. I had clearly not had enough caffeine when I was writing. :)

      • Claire Houston November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

        Thanks! It looks amazingly delicious. My chipotle loving boyfriend is sure to be impressed. :) ~CH

  19. thinkingwillis November 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Can’t wait to try the pecan recipe! We are having a Christmas party in a couple of weeks and it will be a great place to try them out.


  20. adelie moffitt November 16, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    cool! could you look at my site sometime? (sneebliah.wordpress.com) and i need more views! it has lots of valuable things! from best fashion, to over comming fears, helping outcasts in schools, and alot more!

  21. jterrill November 16, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Wow, some of my favorite ingredients! We have a favorite in our house, my mother’s special recipe for peanut butter clusters. The kids call it “crack”. When you have something this good people will hunt you down and demand the recipe and then curse you for giving it to them.

  22. My Camera, My Friend November 16, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Sounds great.

  23. Shanna VanNorman November 17, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Love it — and it’s perfect for my future shin dig!

    Please feel free to check out my recent post to find out what’s holding you back in life:


    Keep bringing on the great info! I’ll add you to my blogroll (once I figure out how) still new to this stuff.

    Much love,


  24. everythingneat November 17, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!

    I love Chipotle powder and make a couple of dips with it including one that’s perfect with yam fries. I’ll definitely use your pecan recipe. I’ll have to wrap them up as soon as they’re cool ’cause I can’t imagine them making their way out of my house if I don’t.

    For another host/hostess idea, you may want to try my easy Crunchy Peanut Brittle recipe. I blogged about it on Dec. 12 last year.

  25. auntbethany November 17, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    My Grandmother always used to make candied nuts. This post reminded me of her. Now that she’s gone, no one has been able to top her recipe! I am definitely going to try your pecan recipe this December! Thank you, and congrats on being FP!

    • jen November 17, 2010 at 9:02 am #

      I’m confident they won’t be as good as your grandmothers, but they might come close! :)

  26. ColWood November 17, 2010 at 10:11 am #

    thanks! really looking forward to trying some of these out!

  27. cheryl November 17, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Jen, I have a killer recipe..that’s also easy for sea salt carmels….yum

  28. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) November 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Penzey’s is my favorite store!!!

  29. rachelthefeminist November 20, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    these ideas all sound so wonderful!
    i cannot wait to try making the honey chipotle pecans!
    thanks jen and anne!

  30. Tes November 22, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    These are great idea! Beautiful and yummy!


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