Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Couple of Ways To Go Nuts

I always seem to overbuy ingredients for my holiday baking. One of these years I just might figure out exactly how many cookies I truly need and therefore be able to shop more accurately. Until that happens, there are a few recipes I rely on to consume the leftovers.

These are two of my favorite recipes that use up lots of nuts. Both can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, so you can make them now and get them out for your next party. The Union Square bar nuts are especially nice when they are warm from the oven.

Candied Curried Pecans (from Bon Appetit magazine, Nov. 2002)

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups pecan halves

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend.

2. Melt butter and honey with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add pecan halves and stir to coat; remove from heat. Add spice mixture and toss to coat pecans evenly. Spread pecans in single layer on prepared baking sheet.

3. Bake pecans until dry and toasted, about 40 minutes [in my experience, the baking time is closer to an hour. The nuts should get darker and will be crisp when they are cool. Since they are not crispy while they are still hot, I take one or two off of the pan and taste them after they've cooled a bit to be sure that they're done]. Cool completely. Separate pecans. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts

2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) whole unsalted nuts [I like to use cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pecans. You can also add peanuts and Brazil nuts. Oh, and if all you have is salted cashews, you can either give them a quick rinse in a colander to remove some of the salt, or you can just not worry about it and use a little less kosher salt in the recipe].
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet (with a rim) that is large enough to hold them in a single layer (a 9x13" cake pan will do). Toast in the oven until the nuts are fragrant and light golden brown in color, about 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

4. Add the toasted nuts to the bowl containing the spices and butter and mix well. Serve the nuts warm, or let them cool and store in an airtight container (zip-top bag) for a few days.


Jen said...

I might try the candied curried nut recipe. It sounds so yummy. I love the titles to your entries. Catchy, clever, and pithy. :-)

Karen said...

Thanks Jen! I forgot to mention that I like the Madras brand of curry powder - the one that comes in a can. They usually have it at Stop and Shop, on the low shelves with other spice blends.

Kailie Mullens said...

I'm trying out the curried nut recipe tonight... will let you know how it turns out.

Great site!