As the holidays inch closer, we can get rather overwhelmed with the amount of sugar found in the vast array of delectable cakes, cookies, and sweets. Thankfully, we can still feel festive and celebratory with treats on the savory side. Home-roasted nuts are a delicious alternative to sugar and fat-laden snacks.
Nutty Flavor Explosions
Any favorite nut is made special through roasting — almonds with paprika, Brazil nuts with rosemary, or macadamias with thyme. Roasting enhances the flavor and creates lovely toasty bits that are made even better with the addition of sea salt and fresh herbs that get scrumptiously crispy.
It’s easy to vary the flavors by using different oils such as sesame, avocado, and flavored olive oils, or unusual herbs such as tarragon, dill, or marjoram. Try unusual salts as well: a lovely smoked sea salt, Himalayan pink, or finish the roasted nuts with fleur de sel.
If herbs aren’t your thing, turn to the spice cupboard and experiment with cumin, paprika, coriander, or some of the exotic mixes used in Thai, Indian, and African cooking. Delicious roasted nuts can only be enhanced by exercising your imagination.
Once the nuts are roasted they can be used to add a savory twist to sweet desserts. Fold cayenne roasted almonds into dark chocolate brownies, or top a hot fudge sundae with thyme roasted macadamias.
They go beautifully over savory foods as well. Take whole roasted nuts and grind them coarsely to sprinkle over thick, creamy soups like pumpkin and carrot, or stir them into smoothies for a dash of protein. Toss slivered ones over green salads or grilled fish.
Roasted nuts keep beautifully in the freezer or fridge, so it’s easy to make them ahead of time for use during the busy season. As the holidays get closer, turn your favorite roasted nut recipes into gifts by packaging them in a handsome tin.
All photos are courtesy of the author.