Friday, January 8, 2016

Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts

The wait is finally over. And the self-imposed weight of the world is finally off my shoulders. Drum roll please. Seems like a worthy introduction for the spiced nuts, aka Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts, recipe I had promised to share by week's end. And just in time for your weekend entertaining! Served warm from the oven (or at room temperature) and paired with your favorite cocktails, these addictive savory nuts are destined to be one of your most favorite go-to appetizer recipes.

These are the Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts I made to go along with the gravlax, cheese platter and pate for the overly ambitious, but incredibly delicious, Christmas Day dinner. With the unseasonably warmer start to winter here in the midwest, these nuts were one way to put the thriving rosemary bushes to good use.

As appetizers go, this one may skew a bit toward the healthy side. As almonds, walnuts, and cashews rank up there as being some of 'better for you' nuts. Which is one of the reasons why I made a slight alteration to Ina Garten's Chipotle and Rosemary Nuts recipe. I left the pecans out and slightly increased the proportions of cashews and almonds. Healthiness aside, these nuts are incredibly delicious. A case of something good for you actually really very good.

Having once made some spicy nuts that turned out to be a little too hot for an 85 degree, full sun, no breeze, weather golf outing day, I couldn't bring myself to using a full teaspoon of the ground chipotle powder. And instead went with 3/4 teaspoon. However, upon tasting the nuts, I realized 1teaspoon would not be too much, regardless of how hot or cold the weather might be.

The nuts are first mixed with the vegetable oil, pure maple syrup, light brown sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice. Once the nuts are fully coated, toss with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Spread the nuts evenly over the prepared large rimmed baking sheet. In a preheated 350 degree (F) oven, the nuts roast for approximately 25 minutes or until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Note: Stir nuts at least twice using a large spatula during the baking process.

After removing the nuts from the oven, toss with another 1 1/2 Tablespoons of freshly minced rosemary and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Transfer to a (clean) parchment paper lined baking sheet, stirring occasionally to minimize sticking. Allow to rest/cool approximately 10 minutes if serving the Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts warm. Having tasted them on the warmer side and on the room temperature side, I really, really loved them warm, yet still loved them room temperature. So did everyone else. Note: You can double this recipe if you are having a large gathering. Just make sure to use two  large rimmed baking sheets. 

These Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts take very little effort to make, yet they deliver big on taste and flavor. Having a cocktail party this weekend? Inviting friends over to watch a sporting event, award show, or movie? Putting together an impromptu gathering? Serve these nuts and don't be surprised if you find everyone hovering over them.

And take it from me, it feels really good to follow-through with a promise. This endorphin rush might be what I need to get me through a six mile run tomorrow morning. Enjoy your weekend!
Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts (slight adaptation to Ina Garten's Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts recipe from her How Easy is That? cookbook)

1 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for seasoning the baking pan
2 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews
1 1/2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup whole almonds
5 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/8 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
3/4 to 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (but would recommend going with 1 teaspoon)
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced and divided
Kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Generously oil a large rimmed baking sheet (11"x17" or 12"x18") with vegetable oil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cashews, walnut halves, almonds, 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder, mixing until nuts are evenly coated. Add 1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly minced rosemary and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and toss again. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet, spreading nuts out in one layer.
3. Roast nuts for approximately 25 minutes or until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. 
4. Remove nuts from oven and sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tablespoons freshly minced rosemary and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Toss well.
5. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and allow to cool slightly (approximately 10 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent the nuts from sticking into clusters as they cool. 
6. Serve warm or cool completely. If not serving immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature.