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Dec 9, 2009 07:55 AM

What's your best holiday nut recipe?

Want to do some sort of spiced and/or season nut recipe as gifts for folks at work. I was disappointed in the last one I tried. Anyone have a favorite?

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  1. frequent suggestions include: union square nuts (epicurious), ina garten's rosemary cashews, and there are ideas on here: including a bacon one from the nyt that sounds awesome

    16 Replies
    1. re: superfinespot

      Union Square nuts are quite simply the best!

      1. re: katecm

        i got this book on for something like $.50. i have made so many yummy recipes out of it... i easily would have paid $50!

      2. re: superfinespot

        I make the Union Square Cafe nuts all the time & they are amazing but I don't think they would make good gifts. They are best warm. When they cool the butter congeals & they get a little yucky looking. I still like them but I wouldn't package them up. I also don't think I would give one with bacon..but I did print that out for later.

        1. re: sparkareno

          I have given the Union Square Nuts plenty of times as gifts. Although they're much better straight from the oven, they're still quite delicious out of an airtight container as well.

          Another one I had success with last year was "Honeyed Cashews with Kosher Salt," from this site. You can even toss in a bit of spice (eg, a tad of cayenne or smoked paprika) if you wish.

          1. re: cackalackie

            Your honeyed nuts idea sounds good -- especially with that smoked paprika.

          2. re: sparkareno

            sparkareno- ew. i hadn't seen the butter problem mentioned before!

            here's a thread w/other suggestions including sweet variations, lemon pepper, etc. epicurious seems to be the clear resource winner!


            1. re: sparkareno

              You serve them warm? I made the mistake of doing that once and everyone's hands were coated with butter. I make a big batch and keep them in the freezer and take them out to thaw before serving.

              1. re: katecm

                I love them warm--like the recipe. The heat of the nuts & butter releases the flavor of the rosemary. I just put out lots of cocktail napkins plus it makes for good finger licking :)

              2. re: sparkareno

                If you use oil instead of butter they store quite nicely. As nice as they are warm they seem to get crunchier after cooling a bit so . . . six of one, half a dozen of the other.

              3. re: superfinespot

                Does anybody have any ideas as to how to get the seasoning on the Union Square nuts to stick? The past few times I have made them, the seasoning promptly fell off the nuts to the bottom of the bowl.

                1. re: sam21479

                  some seasoning will go to the bottom but most of it sticks to the butter when I make them. I do give the bowl quite a few tosses to distribute.

                  1. re: sam21479

                    My problem exactly! Have you come up w/ a solution? Hardly any sugar /spice sticks to nuts; it's all in clumps on bottome no matter HOW much I toss! Wondered about spraying them w/ a bit of water before tossing for better adherence...? BTW, I'm not trying to get EVERY nut coated in sugar; just some so that the ingrediants arent so seperate. Ideas?

                    1. re: tditty

                      i'm wondering if using egg whites might work.....
                      (because it holds the sugar and cinnamon on these nuts ).

                  2. re: superfinespot

                    Ina Garten's cashews ARE the Union Sq Cafe nuts. I have the book and also she says as much on her show. So many tv cooks have borrowed that recipe I just feel compelled to give credit where it's due since this info never seems to make it to their internet-posted recipes.

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      Well I don't know who had them first. I have had the Union Square Cafe cookbook for years & have been making them from there. So the restaurant was making Ina's recipe? Whatever--they are delicious.

                      1. re: sparkareno

                        No - they are the invention of the Union Square Cafe; Ina Garten did them on her show and said as much. I've had that book since it came out too, (1994ish) and, like you, have been making them long before both Nigella and Ina did them on their shows. Oh - Nigella gave proper credit to them too.

                  3. I love love love that spiced nuts recipe with sugared bacon from New York Times last year. People just snarf them down. But I think they are better for a party than to give as gifts because they probably shouldn't be stored indefinitely.

                    If you want that recipe let me know.

                    2 Replies
                    1. Does anyone know how long the seasoned nuts will keep in an airtight container and without refrigeration? I'm not talking about the ones with butter or bacon but those roasted with seasonings? I'd like to make some of these as gifts and am wondering if I can do them ahead of time.

                      1. This is my latest recipe for toasted and spiced pecans - my favorite by far. It is sweet, salty and a little spicy.

                        Honey Spiced and Toasted Pecans

                        This make ahead appetizer is addictive with its sweet and spicy combination. Make more than you think you’ll need because they go quickly!
                        Makes 2 cups

                        2 tablespoons honey
                        ¼ teaspoon ginger
                        ¼ teaspoon allspice
                        ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
                        ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
                        ¼ teaspoon chipoltepowder
                        2 cups pecan halves
                        2 tablespoons brown sugar
                        ¾ teaspoon salt

                        Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

                        In a small saucepan, combine honey, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Warm through. Stir in pecans and stir well to coat.

                        Spread coated pecans in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

                        In a medium sized bowl, combine the brown sugar and salt. Remove pecans from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two. Pour pecans into the bowl and toss to coat.

                        Spread pecans on parchment paper to cool.

                        Serve or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

                        Recipe by
                        EAT! A Personal Chef Service

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: eatmyfood

                          Vanilla SPiced Pecans
                          A little labor intensive, but worth it...they're delicious and keep well. I usually triple the recipe.

                          1# whole pecans
                          6 cups water

                          3 Tbsp Unsalted butter
                          1/2 cup Superfine sugar
                          1 Tbsp Light corn syrup
                          1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

                          1/4 tsp Salt
                          1/4 tsp Coriander, ground
                          1/4 tsp Cinnamon
                          1/4 tsp Nutmeg
                          1/4 tsp Allspice
                          1/8 tsp Pepper

                          Boil pecans 1 minute. (I add the nuts to boiling water and bring back to a
                          rolling boil for 1 minute, tho the directions don't really specify) Drain
                          well and pour out on towels. Melt the butter and mix with sugar, syrup and
                          vanilla. While pecans are still hot toss them in the sugar mixture. Mix
                          well, cover and marinate 24 hours.

                          Preheat oven to 325 (I use 300 in pure convection mode) Spread nuts on
                          cookie sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes (This takes me
                          more like and hour in regular oven, and about 45 in the convection mode)
                          Nuts should be well browned, and caramelized sugar should dry. They crisp up
                          more as they cool. Combine all the spices and toss with warm nuts until well
                          coated. Store airtight.

                        2. I make these every year...for at least a decade or more. I've had folks lose the recipe and email me, frantic, for replacements. They're incredibly easy and incredibly good. I no longer remember where I got the recipe, however, so I can't attribute:

                          Spicy Glazed Pecans

                          1/2 cup sugar
                          3 TBS water
                          1 scant tsp. salt
                          1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
                          2 cups pecan halves

                          Pre-heat oven 350 degrees. Butter heavy large baking sheet (I cover with foil, too, for easy clean-up). Combine first four ingredients in heavy, small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil 2 minutes. Add pecans and stir until pecans are coated with mixture, about one minute. Transfer pecans to prepared sheet, spreading evenly. Bake until pecans are just beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Transfer to cookie sheet lined with wax paper and separate pecans with fork (quickly!). Cool completely. (Can be stored for up to one week in air-tight container, but as they are SO delicious--shiny, crunchy, and spicy-sweet--we usually gobble 'em all up.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Beckyleach

                            I have alot of walnuts on hand -- think they'll work in place of pecans for these recipes?