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Help with Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts!!

Does anyone have some hints / ideas how to get the fabulous savory sugar / spice mixture to stick to the NUTS better??!? I've made them several times with the results being the nuts are on top, & the sugar spices fall to the bottom. Thus when peeps grab some, they're likely to miss all the yummy flavor. (BTW, I tried upping the sugar, thinking more would help 'spread the love' around but it just clumps up & makes hard rosemary-flavored sugar balls to eat with the nuts! Not exactly what I was looking for...

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  1. What is your recipe's method? Oven or skillet? I have had good luck with combining one egg white with butter, sugar and spices, but I don't keep those very long.

      1. We've made some spicy-sweet seasoned nuts at home, and found that a tiny bit of liquid (water or soy sauce) helps everything dissolve and form a glaze that sticks. Try it!

        1. though the recipe directs you to mix the seasonings and butter in a large bowl, add the roasted nuts and then toss, I've had a bit more success in having the stuff adhere to the nuts by using a bit more butter, mixing the seasonings and butter in a small bowl and pouring it on top of the roasted nuts in a big bowl, then tossing really really well. Lots of tossing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            I too tried upping the butter / oil which I mix w/ the spices before adding to hot nuts. No matter how much tossing, can't seem to get hardly ANY suar / spice mixture to adhere to some of the nuts. So was wondering if spaying w/ a bit of water might help...? But not sure how that will affect the oil... AAGGHH!!
            (BTW, I'm not shooting for ALL the nuts to be sugared -- only to get some of the mixture to stick...)

            1. re: tditty

              Are you putting the nuts on the topping immediately after removing from the oven? They must be hot. Are you using fresh rosemary? And what kind of nuts? I find the mixture sticks better to pecans and almonds with the skin on than to smooth nuts like skinned peanuts and cashews, and although I do get fairly good adherence, there always is some sugar/rosemary/salt that sinks to the bottom of the bowl. I also use a wide stainless steel bowl, which I think may hold the heat in a bit. Perhaps the bowl is too tall and narrow? I wouldn't add water either, for fear that it would make the nuts soggy. As another poster pointed out, there will always be some of the seasoning mixture that sinks to the bottom, I just give the nuts a good stir or shake when serving them.

          2. I haven't looked at the Union Square recipe, but I make a roasted nut mixture using maple syrup, olive oil and salt. The syrup makes everything stick and when baked, the nuts are crisp and fantastic. I think you could add all kinds of seasonings to the mixture and it would be good.

            My recipe: 4 cups mixed untoasted nuts (I use equal parts walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts), 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp. maple syrup and 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Mix and bake on greased baking sheet at 350 for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the baking time. They will still be a bit wet when you take them out of the oven, but crisp up as they cool. I have to hide these from my husband or else he'll eat the entire batch in one sitting and then tell me how horrible he feels.