2 Wholesome Winter Snacks

 By Kristin Carden; Coffee and Woodsmoke

Maple Chipotle Pecans & Crispy Golden Chickpeas 


Outside, the wind howls. Its approach is foreshadowed by a sound like a freight train; a distant rumble, growing stronger as it funnels its way through mountain passes, until finally it slams up against the house, buffeting windows and sending wayward aspen leaves scudding across bare earth. 

Oddly, this wind comes on the wings of a December warm front. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be over 50 degrees; this mild Montana winter seems the warmest in nearly a decade. Early season snows have melted off, the ground a web of icy white laced with mud brown. 

Inside, we drink bottomless cups of tea and hover in that post-holiday space, a state of suspended time. The mad baking frenzy over for now—all the cookies and cakes and braided breads. Instead, we reach for snacks more simple and wholesome. These maple chipotle pecans and crispy golden chickpeas are easy to prepare, crunchy, and satisfying. They are good on their own or as toppings for oatmeal (sweet or savory), salads, and rice pilafs.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 

Maple Chipotle Pecans

Makes: 2 1/2 C (easily halved, doubled, tripled)

Total time: 1 hour


  • 2 1/2 C Raw Pecans
  • 1 Tbsp Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Flaky Sea Salt
  • 1/4-1/2 Tsp Chipotle Chili Powder

To Prepare

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Line a 12” cast iron skillet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (or heat olive oil until it’s warm).
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt, and chipotle chili powder.
  5. Add the pecans and stir to coat.
  6. Place the pecans in a single layer in the cast iron pan.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to stir.
  8. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to stir.
  9. Return to the oven and bake for a final 10-15 minutes. The syrup mixture should be quite tacky at this point, almost dried out (it will fully dry out as it cools).
  10. Remove pan from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the pecans still on it) and transfer to a large plate or metal rack to cool.
  11. Once cool, stir in an airtight container at room temperature for three days, or refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.


Crispy Golden Chickpeas

Makes: ~1 1/2 C (easily doubled or tripled)

Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 15-oz Can Chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Flaky Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Coriander

To Prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a 12” cast iron skillet with parchment paper.
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Lay them on a clean dish towel and gently pat dry. 
  4. Peel the chickpeas to remove the loose skins (the skins should peel off easily with a slight bit of pressure), then pat dry again. While the drying and peeling might seem fussy, they ensure that the chickpeas crisp up properly.
  5. Transfer the chickpeas to the cast iron skillet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss them around a bit in the pan to ensure the chickpeas are evenly coated with the oil and salt.
  6. Roast the chickpeas for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, stirring halfway through cooking time. Check them often starting at 20 minutes to ensure they don’t burn.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the still-warm chickpeas with the turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Toss until evenly coated.
  8. These chickpeas are best enjoyed on the day they are made, but will keep in a loosely covered container for up to two days.


Kristin Carden currently resides in the indescribably beautiful Big Sky state of Montana. Her blog, coffeeandwoodsmoke, is her creative outlet. It is her inspiration, and allows her to share the things she loves—food, gardening, photography, art, music, yoga, meditation, nature, wildlife, wildflowers (and, of course, coffee and woodsmoke)—with others. Find more of her recipes here.


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