Want a little snack? We did, so we tried these savory cocktail nuts. They seemed different from the standard fare of cocktail nuts, as they used fresh rosemary, and ours is growing nicely with the weather turning to spring. Don’t have fresh rosemary? Well, dried works, too.
This particular recipe is based on one from Yvette Van Boven’s book Homemade, a title that sounds perfect for us scratchers. So, let’s get scratchin’.
Not only can you substitute dried rosemary for fresh, but you could also use something like thyme. For the nuts, pretty much anything you like will work. We listed a few, but don’t forget others such as macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, etc. Be creative.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment.
Toast nuts. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared pan and roast in the oven until toasted, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven and set aside, but don’t turn off the oven.
Chop herbs. While the nuts are toasting, cut the leaves off the rosemary and into tiny pieces. Place them in a small bowl with the salt and butter to make it easy to add to the mixture later.
Melt sugar. In a large saucepan — large enough to hold all the nuts easily — over medium heat, heat water and sugar, shaking the pan from time to time until the sugar dissolves and melts, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in herbs. Quickly add the rosemary, salt, and butter. Careful, the sugar is very hot and sticky, and will spatter. Can you say ouch, if you’re not careful?
Fold in nuts. Add the nuts and quickly fold in so they’re all coated. Then dump them back onto the prepared pan and spread into a single layer.
Bake. Slide back into the oven and bake for about 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool. Let cool completely before breaking apart and storing in an airtight container.
We’ve made these twice, and, both times we were a bit disappointed because the sugar tends to crystallize as soon as we add the nuts. Perhaps we don’t melt it quite long enough, but we think that about half of the sugar should be replaced with corn syrup. They taste good, but we think they’d be better with a hard candy coating. All we can figure is that we’ll have to try once again with corn syrup and sugar, and deliberately cooking it to the hard crack stage (~300°F) before adding the herbs and nuts. As is, 3 stars.