Soak, toast, douse, embellish, buzz

By Kat Kinsman
Updated November 09, 2018
Credit: Photo by Sandra Standbridge via Getty Images

Your nuts could be better. Please don't take this personally. Your nuts are probably anywhere from decent to great, but there are just a few little things you could do to make them spectacular. I mean, maybe you aren't looking to up your nut game at the moment, but this is a long nut life you're gonna lead, and this info is here should you reconsider at some point. (If you're allergic, sensitive, etc., obviously keep doing nutless you and go work on your butter.)

Soak your nuts

I'm not saying you need to go around eating damp nuts, but they could benefit from a little marinating time in your favorite brown liquor, honey with rosemary and thyme, coffee (it's weird, but it works), wine with warm spices like cardamom and cinnamon, hot sauce (cut it with some orange juice if that's a little much for you), or even water with lemon juice and salt. Put in twice the amount of liquid as nuts because they'll soak it up, and let this all sit in a lidded container in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, or even overnight. Whole or chopped is totally your call, and apparently this helps digestion because it breaks down enzymes. That's great, but we're in it for the taste. Drain the liquid and either wait for them to dry on paper towels, or drain and toast them to add an extra level of flavor. Toss the liquid unless it's booze or honey. You are clever and will find a way to use that.

Toast your nuts

This one's so easy. Preheat your oven to 350°F, spread the nuts out on a baking sheet, and check them every five minutes to see if they need to be scooted around or flipped. Depending on how you're going to be deploying the nuts (eaten straight, used in a baked good, or whatnot), you may wish to add some fat to the mix. A neutral oil or olive oil is fine, but if you care to get meta, use a nut oil. If you wanna get awesome, use bacon grease. Brush the nuts lightly with oil, and toast. The nuts are ready when they seem ready.

Douse your nuts again

If you hit the nuts with liquid again while they're still hot, they'll soak up even more flavor. No need to let them sit. Just sprinkle or pour directly onto the baking sheet, wait a few minutes, and pop it all back in the oven until the nuts have dried.

Embellish your nuts

Sure, you could just eat them like so, but you could also rev the flavor even further. A brush with butter while they're still warm is great, and same goes for honey, syrup, hot sauce, or a mix of everything I just mentioned, plus salt. You might also care to pour them into a lidded container of sugar and salt (equal parts, or to your taste) with citrus zest, herbs, or cracked spices, shake the whole thing up, and let that sit for a few days.

Buzz your nuts

After you've flavored up your nuts, consider blending them all into the best butter you have ever had. Discard any stray skins left after roasting, toss those nuts and whatever additions you have made to them into a food processor or blender and mix until it's all creamy, scraping down the sides as often as you need to. This may take a while—don't go nuts.