I wish I had a great story about eating these bar nuts at Union Square Cafe with my first New York martini. The truth is I’ve never set foot in the place. Or for that matter, drank a martini.
I walk passed USQ Cafe about 4 days a week on my way to the Greenmarket, Whole Foods or let’s be honest, the Sephora on 17th street. Legend has it they serve these nuts (gratis) during happy hour. I generally avoid communal bowls of unidentified snacks, but I’d make an exception for these. They’re ridiculously addictive in that sweet/salty kind of way. A handful goes great with anything you happen to be drinking, from cranberry seltzer to dark lager.
I’ll be serving them at a holiday gathering – if they last until then.
Rosemary-Maple Roasted Nuts
Inspired by Union Square Cafe’s bar nuts via Oh She Glows
2 to 2 1/2 cups mixed nuts* (unsalted or lightly salted preferably)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Pinch or two cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup*
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Place nuts in a large bowl. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt and butter. Add to the nuts and stir to coat. Taste and add more cayenne, sugar/syrup or salt, as needed (can also adjust salt/spice at the end.)
Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool down a bit a bit before serving. If they appear a little wet, don’t worry, they will harden to a light glaze. They’re delicious warm or at room temp.
-Nuts: I used 50% Less Salt Roasted & Salted Mixed Nuts with Peanuts from Trader Joe’s. I used a little less salt to balance things out. Any combo of nuts would be great or just straight pecans, almonds, etc.
-Maple syrup: I’m a purist when it comes to maple syrup, i.e. I only buy the 100% pure stuff. Yes, it’s a little (ok, a lot) pricier than, say, Aunt Jemima, but there really is no comparison.