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Nuts -- to toast or not...

does it matter for brownies and cookies? I don't for granola but wonder about when they're in a batter. Would you toast then chop or vice versa -- would it make a diff in taste? I know, picky picky (or worse!).

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  1. I rarely bake but I do have a "brownie pie" that includes pecans. I don't toast them and think it's great. But maybe it would be even great if toasted. May have to try that.

    1. There is a difference in taste.
      For me it depends on the application. I often toast nuts when using them in Batters even if the recipe does not call for it.
      It is a personal preference. You should play around with it and see what you prefer.

      1. I don't. If I were so inclined, I still don't think I'd toast nuts for cookies. The batter is so thin, the nuts are more directly exposed to heat.

        1. It isn't picky at all. Toasting nuts changes both the flavor and texture. Both ways are good - it's a matter of choice.

          1. For brownies, quickbreads and cookies i chop and then toast in a skillet on the stove, just makes the flavor much more pronounced. I also then use fewer nuts than the recipe originally called for (1/2 instead of 3/4 kind of thing). Semi related the to the nuts question i make brown butter to use as the butter in my choco chip cookies- sssshhhhh, that's my "secret"- and it made a world of difference in the flavor

            1. I toast almost always. Joanne Chang convinced me. I used to do it less frequently. It does improve the taste and texture.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mscoffee1

                Me too. Although I am sometimes too lazy.

                1. re: magiesmom

                  When lazy, I don't put nuts in the batter, I sprinkle them on top - they get nice and toasted (texture and flavor) without the work.

                  Brownies work especially well for this. I'd imagine pecan pie (where the nuts float to the surface and get direct heat) might be similar.

              2. Unless a brownie or cookie recipe specifically calls for toasting the nuts, I don't.

                If I put nuts in a salad, I like them toasted.

                1. i really like toasted nuts in many applications but almost always burn most, so have stopped trying, lol. i just have too much else going on and lose track!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I now use a timer (or three) for almost everything - always for roasting nuts and I stay in the kitchen and keep sniffing them. I certainly have burned them, but sometimes the difference toasting provides is wonderful. However, different times in life call for different compromises. I roast nuts, but don't give as many parties.

                  2. I chop and then toast, but only when the recipe calls for toasted nuts. Easier to stir the smaller pieces to get an even toast.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                      Also, you get more flavor boost because chopped nuts have more surface area than whole ones do.

                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                        I find the complete opposite to be true.
                        Unless you are able to chop Nuts in almost Identical size pieces, the small pieces brown before the larger pieces are toasted or the small pieces burn by the time the larger ones brown.

                      2. I toast all of my nuts, no matter what the use. Well, I guess not for granola since I toast all of that in the oven together.

                        I put them in a pie plate and put them in the microwave (one of the only times I use a microwave) for 30 seconds. I stir them, and then toast another 30 seconds, and stir again. I continue this until I can smell the nuts. I haven't burned a batch yet!

                        1. I think toasting improves the flavor of pecans and macadamias, doesn't do much for walnuts and black walnuts. Those are the only ones I have tried. I don't count chestnuts or pine nuts because they need toasting. Some may disagree about the pine nuts.

                          6 Replies
                            1. re: chefj

                              I'm sure you don't use chestnuts raw.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                No, but they do get Steamed, Sautéed, Braised and/or Glacéed in many applications.
                                I love'm Roasted as well.

                                1. re: chefj

                                  Sounds good. I like them and I wish they weren't so seasonal, even the ones from Italy and China.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    You can find very good quality ones from France usually Roasted, Peeled and Jarred or Cryovaced. Great for Sautéing.
                                    I think the same sort if packing is coming out of China but have never tried them.

                            2. re: Veggo

                              Hazelnuts don't particularly taste like hazelnuts until they're toasted.
                              Agree it depends on the nut in question and the desired effect.

                            3. I never toast them. I know it changes the taste but I think it tastes fine without doing so. I even don't skin hazelnuts cause I like how they taste with the skin on.

                              I always do toast coconut when a recipe asks for it because it does change the overall texture of the batter and is not just a taste preference.