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Nuts -- to toast or not...

Sarah Aug 9, 2013 06:22 PM

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. c oliver RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 06:58 PM

    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. chefj RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 07:03 PM

      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. m
        MrsJonesey RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 07:07 PM

        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. s
          sandylc RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 07:09 PM

          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. Ttrockwood RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 07:48 PM

            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. m
              mscoffee1 RE: Sarah Aug 9, 2013 10:31 PM

              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
                magiesmom RE: mscoffee1 Aug 10, 2013 07:43 AM

                Me too. Although I am sometimes too lazy.

                1. re: magiesmom
                  randomthoughts RE: magiesmom Aug 10, 2013 07:51 AM

                  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. 512window RE: Sarah Aug 10, 2013 03:40 PM

                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. hotoynoodle RE: Sarah Aug 10, 2013 04:26 PM

                  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
                    mscoffee1 RE: hotoynoodle Aug 10, 2013 06:16 PM

                    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. MidwesternerTT RE: Sarah Aug 10, 2013 07:22 PM

                    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
                      greygarious RE: MidwesternerTT Aug 11, 2013 11:50 AM

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

                      1. re: MidwesternerTT
                        chefj RE: MidwesternerTT Aug 11, 2013 02:38 PM

                        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. JKDLady RE: Sarah Aug 10, 2013 07:27 PM

                        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. Veggo RE: Sarah Aug 10, 2013 07:34 PM

                          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: Veggo
                            chefj RE: Veggo Aug 11, 2013 11:03 AM

                            And the Chestnuts.

                            1. re: chefj
                              Veggo RE: chefj Aug 11, 2013 02:42 PM

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

                              1. re: Veggo
                                chefj RE: Veggo Aug 11, 2013 03:10 PM

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

                                1. re: chefj
                                  Veggo RE: chefj Aug 11, 2013 03:13 PM

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

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    chefj RE: Veggo Aug 12, 2013 04:42 PM

                                    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
                              cowboyardee RE: Veggo Aug 11, 2013 04:01 PM

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

                            3. l
                              Lorry13 RE: Sarah Aug 11, 2013 03:03 PM

                              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.

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