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How to Toast Nuts
Nuts on their own are a delicious and satisfying snack. But when it comes to baked goods and recipes, toasting the nuts will add depth to both the texture and the flavor, and allow the nuts to compete with stronger flavors instead of fading into the background.
Roasted nuts have a fuller flavor compared to raw dried nuts; however, they have a shorter shelf life--so plan to use them within two to three weeks.
If you have never toasted nuts before, you might be feeling a little intimated. But there really is no need! You can toast nuts in a myriad of ways – in the oven, on the stove top, or even in the microwave – yes really, the microwave!
Spread shelled nuts in a shallow pan and bake in a 350ºF oven for 5 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nutmeats turn golden brown. . Check the nuts often, and make sure to stir them if it appears the nuts are getting more done on one side of the oven. You can also rotate the baking sheet in the oven.
Tip: For richer flavor and more even browning, toss each cup of nutmeats with one teaspoon of vegetable oil before roasting.
How to Toast Nuts Time Table*
*This table is just a guide, ovens heat differently, so your timing may vary.
Stove Top Method
You can also roast nutmeats on top of the range in a heavy skillet. Place frying pan on the stove top, turn heat to medium-high. When the pan is hot add the nuts in a single layer.
Toast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts are lightly browned and smell mouth-watering. Remove from heat, and if necessary, from pan to cool.
Note: nuts continue to brown slightly after removing from heat.
Spread a single layer of nuts on a microwave safe plate. Cook them in 1 minute intervals on full power, until the nuts have a crisp crunch, toasted flavor, and have become fragrant. The amount of time it takes varies per nut and the power of your microwave.
You won’t get the same dark color you get from oven or pan toasting, but when in a hurry or busy this will do and you won’t have to dirty a pan.
My recommendation on How to Toast Nuts
I've roasted nuts every way. If I'm going to be in the kitchen working, the dry skillet wins. It doesn't really take any longer, and I think the results are better.
If I'm running around the house doing four things at same time, the microwave method is the BEST. Just hit the button, go do your thing, whenever you get back I hit the button again. Microwave-toasting is also ideal for small amounts of nuts, like those for a quick batch of muffins. You don’t have to wait for oven to heat up for just a few minutes of toasting, and you don't need to worry about ending up with charcoal.
But for extra special desserts, requiring a lot of nuts and where flavor and presentation are really important, I’ll stick to oven-roasting. The constant stirring of the stove top method is more irritating and time consuming that opening and closing the oven door and testing the nuts a few times.
BONUS TIP: Skinning Nuts
If you have toasted any nuts that have skins on them, like peanuts or hazelnuts, simply allow them to cool for a few minutes, and then place the nuts in a clean and dry kitchen towel. Rub them vigorously with the towel, and the skins will slip right off. Don't worry about any skins that do remain, however. They will not affect any food you add them to, and the skins are safe to eat.
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