Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better….
When you want to add extra depth, crunch and flavor to a recipe calling for nuts, consider toasting them first. Toasting helps to release the naturally occurring oil in nuts, lending an intensified and richer flavor to any dish or baked good. In the case of thin-skinned nuts such as hazelnuts, it also makes removing their skins easier. There are two ways to toast nuts: in a high-heat oven or on the stovetop in a skillet.
How to Toast Nuts
In a skillet: Place nuts in a dry frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently; until they smell fragrant and turn a light shade of golden-brown (they will continue to toast a bit more when removed from heat).
In the oven: Spread the nuts in a single layer on a dry rimmed baking sheet and roast them in a 350ºF oven until they are golden and fragrant. Roasting time varies depending on the size of the nuts used. The following times are approximate; to ensure the perfect toast, check the nuts regularly:
- Almonds (sliced): 7 to 10 minutes
- Almonds (whole): 10 minutes
- Chestnuts: 25 minutes
- Hazelnuts: 12 to 15 minutes
- Macadamia nuts: 12 to 15 minutes
- Pecans: 10 to 15 minutes
- Pine Nuts: 5 minutes
- Walnuts: 10 to 15 minutes
* To skin hazelnuts after toasting, let them cool a bit, and then place the nuts onto a clean kitchen towel. Gather the towel around the nuts and rub vigorously until most of the skins have come off. Don’t worry if a few bits still cling here and there; they won’t harm the flavor or texture.
Tips For Toasting Nuts:
- Never add oil when toasting.
- Taste your nuts before toasting. Don’t waste your time roasting rancid nuts.
- Larger nuts (ex. walnuts, almonds) will take longer to toast. Smaller nuts (ex. pine nuts) will toast faster.
- Don’t toast different types of nuts together unless they are approximately the same size.
- Cook the nuts only until they start to turn golden with parts still appearing raw. You don’t want to let them get any darker than light brown or they will taste bitter.
- Your nose is the best indicator for when the nuts are done toasting. When you can smell that aromatic, delicious, toasty scent, they’re done.
- Watch that the nuts don’t overcook in the oven – they can go from nicely toasted to tragically burnt quicker than you think.