Sticky, salty, spicy, sweet walnuts.
I hate buying packaged snacks, yet I take that easy path more than I'd like to admit. Even with all the cooking we do around here, I still forget just how simple it is to throw something together at home. There are a million recipes for toasted nuts, but I wanted to use agave instead of the sugar you find in most caramelized versions. Plus, I had a very specific flavor in mind - a balance of cayenne kick, agave sweetness, buttery goodness, and salty crunch. I whipped up many batches of these nuts before I got the taste I was craving. Here's the recipe.
- 2 1/2 cups shelled walnut halves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 generous tablespoons dark agave nectar
- pinch of cayenne (approximately 1/8 teaspoon)
- freshly ground sea salt
Preheat oven to 375. Place walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for approximately 7-10 minutes. Walnuts should be fully roasted.
While walnuts are cooking, melt butter in a sauce pan. Add cayenne and rosemary leaves. Let steep for a minute or two. Add dark agave nectar. Stir and continue gently cooking for another minute or so. When walnuts are toasted, immediately add them to the saucepan and thoroughly coat with butter mixture. Let everything bubble together for another minute. Then spread walnuts on a sheet of parchment. Grind sea salt over the tops of the nuts so that the salt will stick. Cool and serve.
Note: You can also serve these nuts with many delicious cheeses or add some to a salad with butter lettuce, pear, and Gorgonzola. Today, I tossed some caramelized walnuts into my morning bowl of Greek yogurt along with some sliced peach. Yum.