Nuts! What’s not to love about them? Ok, unless you have nut allergies, in which case you’ll want to skip right past this post and continue online shopping for yodeling marmots because one really can’t have enough of those this time of year. Roasted nuts are a perfect Bring It staple, because they do double duty as a host/hostess gift and a yummy contribution to any party or gathering. They beat myrrh and frankincense hands down. Also, nuts are the perfect candidates for showcasing your packaging savvy gleaned from Bringing It in Style.
Below are three favorite takes on three favorite nuts. All are easy to prepare (no beaten egg whites or fussy preparation) and all will disappear so fast you won’t need to worry about a shelf life. That said, they include butter, so those of you with a measure of restraint will want to store them in the fridge. Oh yeah, and clean up is instant if you line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Ginger Glazed Almonds
Makes 2 1/2 cups. Active time: 10 min Start to finish: 40 min
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 1/2 cups whole almonds with skins (9 oz)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add remaining ingredients except almonds and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then add almonds and stir until coated.
Spread almonds in a lightly oiled or parchment-lined shallow baking pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until insides of nuts are golden (cut one to test), about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Adapted from Martha Stewart. Beyond the fresh rosemary you can use any combo of spices (or none at all) to suit your tastes. I went for chile powder and paprika, but many recipes call for the cha-cha of cayenne. Be bold. Be creative. Make Martha proud.
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups walnuts
1/2 tsp (or more) coarse salt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp light-brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add rosemary and chile powder. Cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Add walnuts, salt, sugar, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to coat. Pour nuts on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, testing for doneness. Cool completely.
Note: If you don’t want to do the baking step you can keep stirring and cooking the mixture stovetop for 4-5 minutes until “glossy and fragrant” then spread nuts on the baking sheet to cool. I prefer the fully roasted flavor you get from baking.
Sea Salt Roasted Pecans
Honestly, you can’t improve much on a plain toasted pecan, and at a certain point in the holiday season your body will high-five you for anything in its natural state. But if you want to give your pecans that little black dress of specialness try this simple recipe.
2 cups pecan halves
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss pecans and melted butter in medium bowl to coat. Add sea salt and toss. Spread pecans in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, about 15 minutes. Cool pecans on baking sheet.
The official word is that these roasted pecans keep 2 days if stored airtight at room temperature. That seems mighty conservative to me and they keep way longer in the fridge.