This was my first sort-of fail with my Food52 Genius Recipes project.
The idea is an interesting take on the classic sweet & spicy toasted nut. Most recipes have you mixing and applying the sugar & spice mixture to the nuts and then toasting them. This one works a little differently. You toast the nuts first and then toss the hot nuts in the spice mixture. The heat from the nuts, in theory, melts the seasoning and coats the nuts.
The seasonings (rosemary, cayenne pepper, salt, brown sugar) all worked really phenomenally together. I nearly left the rosemary out because I had doubts about how well it would work in the recipe. I didn’t need to worry though. The recipe would be lacking without it.
What made this a fail was the execution. The hot nuts didn’t really melt the sugar-spice mixture very well. Clearly this method has worked for some since it is a recipe used at Union Square Cafe and their bar nuts are legendary. And I really doubt that Food52 would have published it without thoroughly testing it. I’m sure the fault was mine though I don’t really know where I went wrong. I had read that one needed to mix them extremely well while they cooled. I did do that but once the nuts had cooled the spice mixture had pretty much set. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to heat the spices, salt and sugar into a more liquid mixture BEFORE tossing the hot, roasted nuts in. That would eliminate the problem of the coating not melting.
The nuts were delicious where the coating had melted and distributed properly. However, there were a lot of patches and clumps of intensely salty flavored unpleasantness in an otherwise tasty snack.
I’m on the fence about making this again. I might try it again and, if so, I’ll certainly post about it. Should I get it right, it would be an excellent thing to pass around at get-togethers.