Bucking the Cookie Trend

This is the time of year when lovely homemade sweet treats start to pile up on my counter… and my waistline. Fortunately I don’t have the world’s biggest sweet tooth so I manage to moderate my intake (just don’t let me near the cheese platter).

Thinking that most people are getting tons of cookies, bark, brittle, toffee, etc., last year I decided to start my own holiday treat tradition.

It’s even better than cookies.

What could be better than cookies?

Holiday nuts!

Specifically, these nuts:

The Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts

Picture of The Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts Recipe


They are beyond easy to make (just watch your nuts carefully in the oven – last year there was a lot of nut scorching going on Chez Alden) and are a lovely mix of sweet and savory, providing a nice contrast to all the sugar you’ll no doubt be consuming in the next few weeks.

And while the recipe says to serve them warm, right away (which, I can attest from the furtive handfuls I’ve scarfed before setting them aside to cool, is awesome), they are also delicious room temperature. I make a huge batch and let them cool before dividing them into little gift bags.

Also, I limited my nuts to almonds, cashews, pecans, and macadamias, because really, who wants to waste the calories on peanuts and Brazil nuts?

Here is the recipe, courtesy of the Food Network


2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. And once you eat these, you will never want to stop.

Today I made 2 quadruple (yes, you read that right) batches and as soon as my goodie bags arrive from Amazon, I will package them up and distribute them to my friends like the happy little Christmas elf that I am.
Do you have a favorite homemade holiday gift (food or otherwise) you like to share?  Post it here and one random commenter will receive a copy of Monica McCarty’s new e-book original novella THE KNIGHT: http://monicamccarty.com/index.php
AND Veronica Wolff’s new e-book original novella DARK CRAVING: http://www.veronicawolff.com/book/dark_craving!
Post your comments by midnight PST Friday December 13.


  • December 10, 2013

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