I’m off to a girl’s weekend in Denver with my three closest friends from college. We are all fortunate enough to be in good jobs that allow us to fly from all parts of the country once a year for a gathering. I’m certain there will be lots of wine, laughter, and lamentation that one gathering a year just isn’t enough. In anticipation of the trip, I began thinking about a small gift to bring to my chicas. Since we’ve known each other for more than a decade, we’ve had our fair share of the standard picture frames, housewares, and good reads exchanged among us. This year, I decided to make each of them some treats. (If the three of you happen to see this before you get on the plane—that’s a benefit of following me!).
Putting together a bag of goodies is no small feat with TSA regulations. No liquids or gels means no frosting or any treats that are “filled”, but then again I don’t think those would travel well either. If you are a regular reader you also know, I have a full time day job, so this means I had to make some of the treats in the evenings leading up to my departure, thereby requiring at least few days of shelf life for any treats. In the end, I settled on several different items (not yet to be revealed in case the three of you are reading!) one of them being these Rosemary Roasted Nuts adapted from Ina Garten’s Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts. I adapted her recipe based on the nuts I could pick up at the local grocery store so I used hazelnuts, pecans and almonds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Chipotle powder on hand, so I substituted with 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1 teaspoon of cayenne. Because I used fewer nuts, I also modified some of the other ingredients accordingly. I forgot to sprinkle my nuts with additional salt and rosemary after I took the nuts out of the oven because I was also trying to throw dinner together. If I had remembered, I’m sure the rosemary flavor would be more prominent.
The result? Well, see for yourself.
ROSEMARY ROASTED NUTS
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the baking sheet if you don’t have a silicone baking mat
2 cups hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 cups whole pecan halves
2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (Please, dish out the extra cash for PURE maple syrup, it is so so so much better. You’ll never go back. I’m not just saying this because my husband grew up in Montreal)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, divided
Salt (preferably sea salt or kosher salt)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or brush the baking sheet generously with oil. In a large bowl, dump in all of the nuts.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, paprika and cayenne into the bowl and toss to coat the nuts. Add the 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again to coat all of the nuts evenly.
Spread the nuts out in one layer on the pan.
Roast the nuts for 25-30 minutes, stirring twice. I mixed the nuts around every 8-9 minutes with a spatula until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Don’t worry, the nuts will feel gooey and not crispy when you remove them from the oven. Per Ina, now is the time to sprinkle the nuts with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary and toss well—I do think it would be better if I remembered to do this next time instead of getting caught up in chopping tofu for our dinner.
Set aside at room temperature. Here Ina tells us to stir the nuts occasionally to prevent sticking. Frankly, I just let them sit at room temperature while we ate dinner. The nuts do stick together, but they are easy enough to break up by hand. No biggie. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature and share it with friends!