I attended a holiday party last weekend and offered to bring an app. I got ambitious, tried to make three different things (none of which came out) but thankfully, on a whim, I had already made these bar nuts. As soon as I put them out, they had a gravitational pull and people stood around them all night. It's no wonder, they are salty, sweet, spicy...the perfect nut (although I always say that's me teehee)! Since they were such a hit, I decided to gift them to friends and family this holiday season. My friend Dennis has been doing this for years with a similar recipe. I love the idea, it's something different and a nice break from the never ending cookie tins (no offense to you cookie exchangers). As a bonus, they could not be simpler to make. I'm writing this on Christmas Eve, if you (like me) still have some last minute gifts to figure out, consider whipping up a batch of these, they'll come together in no time! Or heck, they would be delicious any time of year!
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This recipe comes from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook (which I highly recommend). I did put my own twist though. The ingredient list for this is very simple:
1 1/4 unsalted assorted nuts (my tip to you would be to check out Cosco or another big box store, they have good prices for bulk nuts)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
That's it...seriously! I also added 1 tablespoon of maple syrup which was not in the original recipe and I think it gives the whole thing a lovely sweetness.
Prior to starting, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pour your nuts onto a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes. This will release all the wonderful flavors and oils in the nuts, but it will also make them nice and warm to absorb the coating.
While they're roasting, chop up the parsley and add everything into a medium sized mixing bowl. Once the nuts are done, add them to the bowl as well (be careful they will be hot) and mix away.
I will note that because of the addition of maple syrup, they can stick together as they cool (almost like a brittle). To solve this problem I transported them to the party in a plastic container with a lid and then gave them a hard shake before putting in the serving dish. It worked like a charm.
You're going to try one and think, yeah they're good, but they're not that......oh wait, oh my gosh I need another one! The sweet hits you first, then a bit of salt and spice, and a lovely kick of heat (not too much) comes in at the end.
If you're giving some out as gifts I used jam jars. Each jar held about a half a cup of nuts, which was perfect for coworkers and friends. They have them on Amazon, but if you're doing a last minute thing today, a lot of grocery stores and Target have something similar. I also found these which are adorable and I may use next time (plus they hold more).
If you're reading this, I just want to take a minute to thank you for taking time out of your holiday season to spend it with me. Merry, merry! Are you making food to give to family and friends? What are you making?
The original recipe can be found on page 8 of The Union Square Cookbook.