Toasting Nuts, Pantry Essentials
Toasting nuts is always a good idea, even if the recipe doesn’t ask for it. I almost always toast the nuts before I add them to my cookies, cakes, brownies, candies and salads. Toasting the nuts extracts some of the oils so the nuts will have more crunch. Most importantly, nuts that are toasted are even more delicious than raw. At Christmastime, when I know that I will be doing a lot of baking, I’ll toast up several batches of different types of nuts to have on hand. Just make sure you store all nuts, raw and toasted, in airtight containers. And remember that nuts will go rancid if they’re just sitting around in your cupboard. If you don’t remember when you bought them, or if they smell funny (stale, wet, mouldy or sour) pitch them out.
This is how I toast nuts, but experiment with your own oven as cooking times vary.
- place a cast iron pan in a cold oven
- preheat the oven to 350F (the pan will preheat too)
- you can chop the nuts before or after you toast them
- spread the nuts in the hot pan
- cook 5 – 15 minutes (depending on the nut and whether they are already chopped), stirring once or twice, until they darken a bit and your kitchen starts to smell delicious (in my house, it is at this point that a teenage boy usually shows up in the kitchen and asks “are you making cookies?”)
- you can’t really check for “doneness” by taste until the nuts have cooled as hot nuts straight from the oven are, well, freakin’ hot, and besides, they get crunchier as they cool.
Need some ideas for different kinds of nuts to toast? Get some inspiration here, from the movie Best in Show.