Have you ever opened a tin of mixed nuts, only to find that someone had already gotten there and eaten out all the pecans or cashews? If you live anywhere in my vicinity, chances are that the culprit would be me. It’s horribly shameful, but I can’t help myself. The salted pecans are my favourites and there are so few of them in each tin. For the record, I don’t paw through all of the nuts to get to my beloved pecans, because that would be disgusting. Instead, I have a well-practiced way of tilting the tin back and forth to shake the pecans from their hiding places. I like the almonds too, and I love cashews but they are higher in carbs to I try not to eat too many. But let’s face it – the peanuts are just filler, and the brazil nuts taste like dirt (at least, I think they do – so much so that I even call them “dirt nuts”). The pecans are like the prize at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jacks.
Over the holidays, as I was digging down in our 3lb tin of mixed nuts, it suddenly hit me. I should just make my own damn nuts! This way, I could improve upon the pecan-to-dirt-nut ratio, preferably by eliminating the dirt nuts altogether. It’s not that I haven’t roasted my own nuts before, I’ve actually done it quite a few times (Spicy Roasted Almonds). I just get lazy, particularly when presented with an over-sized tin of mixed nuts from our local wholesaler. We go through a ridiculous amount of nuts in this house, and I am not sure I could quite keep up with that by making my own. But then again, I can’t complain about the ratio of pecans to brazil nuts if I am not willing to make them myself, now can I? And making my own also allows me to adjust the salt and any other seasonings to my own liking.
A few years ago, some friends came to dinner and made us some rosemary roasted cashews from The Barefoot Contessa. They were so good and I believe I may have stood over the bowl, forking them into my mouth and not really letting anyone else near them. My friend kindly let me copy the recipe and I’ve been meaning to make them for a long time. Alas, they are all cashews, and they are made with brown sugar. Not exactly the ideal snack for a carb-conscious diabetic. So imagine my excitement when I came across THIS recipe on Foodgawker. I bookmarked immediately, planning on making some over the holidays, but of course I never did. I had three sick children and a large tin of already roasted nuts, so it just wasn’t going to happen. But I did finally get around to making them this past weekend for the women in my bookclub.
The Results: These are phenomenal and a perfect addition to any party menu. They are definitely best served warm, so I only made a half-batch because I knew that the six of us couldn’t polish off 4 cups of nuts. I also cut back on the oil a bit, and my nut mix was made up of mostly pecans and almonds, with a few cashews for good measure. I didn’t really measure my spices, I just eyeballed them, but I probably put in a bit more rosemary, cayenne and red pepper flakes than called for in the original recipe. I found that they only needed 8-10 minutes in the oven before they were beautifully roasted.
A big thumbs up for these. I will be making more very soon. They are so easy and so amazingly delicious! Dirt nuts need not apply. Unless you like dirt nuts. Then have at it.
Spicy Rosemary Cocktail Nuts – minimally adapted from Gourmande In the Kitchen
3 cups mixed raw nuts
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine nuts in a medium bowl and add olive oil. Stir well. Add remaining ingredients and stir to comine thoroughly.
Spread nuts on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Makes approximately 8 servings. Carb count will depend on what types of nuts you use. The way I made it (mostly pecans and almonds with a little bit of cashews), each serving has 7.4g of carbs and 4.8g of fiber.