Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts

This was my first batch of homemade roasted nuts, and I am officially a believer. You will be, too. Regular ol’ bulk mixed nuts (I found unsalted, unroasted mixed nuts at Trader Joe’s) are transformed by a few herbs and spices into a completely new dish, served warm, and perfect for holiday get-togethers. This version uses chipotle and fresh rosemary, a flavor combination that never would have occurred to me in a thousand years. The chipotle and maple syrup provide an interesting, if somewhat predictable contrast, but the charred bits of rosemary and chunks of kosher salt introduce a brand new flavor, that you never quite see coming, and that ends up tasting like a hot bowl of Christmas.

The only thing that’s a tiny bit tricky is that you must work quickly and confidently to keep the nuts from melting into a giant, sticky mass. It’s pretty easy, once you get the hang of it; cook the nuts in a single layer on a well-oiled baking sheet, and then, when the nuts are cooling, remember to give them a quick toss with a spatula every 2-3 minutes, or until the nuts’ coating firms up and turns into a spicy shellack.

Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, or any combination), unsalted and unroasted
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced, divided
  • Kosher salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a baking sheet with a generous amount of vegetable oil. In a bowl, toss mixed nuts with one tablespoon of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, light brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder, until coated evenly. Add one tablespoon of the rosemary, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and toss again.
  3. Transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes, pausing twice in the cooking time to stir the nuts with a metal spatula before arranging back into a single layer, until the nuts are glazed and golden brownSpread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with another teaspoon of salt, and the remaining minced rosemary.
  4. Toss well and set aside, stirring every few minutes to prevent the nuts from sticking together as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm, or let cool completely.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.

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