5 recipes and tricks for cooking with nuts

With flavors both sweet and earthy, not to mention an abundance of varieties, nuts are a great addition to any recipe. Whether they’re the focus of the dish or instead act as a garnish, nuts offer nutritional benefits as well as overall tastiness. Here are just a few ways to cook with nuts.

Roasted nuts
Want to really activate the flavors in any variety of nut? This online culinary school recommends roasting them. Properly shell the nuts and then cook them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for seven to 10 minutes. The process really helps to enhance the natural flavor profile, making pine nuts much richer and drawing out the grainy qualities of cashews. From there, sprinkle the nuts on anything from ice cream to sorbet, or use them in a trail mix and salad.

Candied nuts
For nuts with an added bit of sweetness, the candying process is simple and effective. Most recipes call for heating sugar until it creates a nice glaze that can then be spread across the nuts. Or, try something slightly different by using cinnamon instead. Either way, dribbling caramel on the finished product adds a different dimension of sweetness entirely. What’s great about the candying process is that it works on almost every nut, though cashews, pecans and walnuts are highly favored options.

Fruit and nuts
Much like nuts, fruits are one of those foods with a seemingly endless variety. Together, there are countless combinations to explore, each with their own unique flavors and health benefits. One of the most popular ways o combine fruits and nuts is in salads, but inventive chefs can find their own methods.

  • Almonds go great with blueberries, cranberries or oranges
  • Pecans go well with peaches and apples (specifically red delicious)
  • Macadamia nuts can be served alongside  cherries or apricots
  • Brazil nuts complement the flavors of raisins and bananas

Spicy nut mix
Loads of recipes call for nuts because of their own inherent richness and how they pair well with other ingredients. Try something new by giving your trail mix a bit of spice. Any nut will do, but cashews, walnuts and almonds are especially good options. Coat them in olive oil, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper and then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. For even more spice, swap out the cayenne pepper for something even hotter, like ghost pepper or chilaca pepper.

Nuts from around the world
Craving something outside of standard peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.? There are plenty of exotic offerings. Hailing from Africa, mongongo nuts are touted for being rich in protein, and locals have used them to make a kind of biscotti (a twice-baked cookie) for centuries. As its name might imply, the bat nut is shaped much like the winged creature. These are often boiled or fried, and are used in many Asian delicacies.

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