Week five of eight in a series:
If you’ve been following along, your stash for Baking Season is getting so full that anyone who opens your cupboard will know you mean business, which also means some serious goodies will soon be coming out of your kitchen. And speaking of serious baked goodies, stay tuned for some over-the-top recipes I’ve been working on to help you with that!
This week, let’s stock up on the classic selection of nuts necessary in any baker’s repertoire, plus a few less common but amazingly flavorful stars as well:
Walnuts – English walnuts are the most common type of walnut found in the baking aisle. Black walnuts are sometimes sought out for their bold, earthy flavor. But, unless you already know the difference and have a preference, just go with whatever is easy to buy. Walnuts have a nice bitterness that is minimized when roasted and, besides being a bit healthier than pecans, have a nice chunky texture. Some recipes are interchangeable with walnuts or pecans, but most classic recipes are better left alone, especially when giving as gifts. For something a little different that I guarantee will be a success, try this Walnut Torte.
Pecans – Pecans are less bitter than walnuts and taste a bit sweeter. This makes them perfect in recipes like Pecan Pie and though I mentioned my preference not to replace them in some recipes that call for walnuts, they interchange very well in recipes requiring a lot of chocolate or with caramel as an ingredient.
Almonds – Almonds have a smooth texture and mild flavor. They pair well with fruits, especially apricots and peaches. These nuts are used whole, sliced, slivered and chopped in many cookie, cake and, most notably at this time of year, Biscotti recipes.
Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts have such a creamy flavor and we’re all familiar with their classic pairing in white chocolate chip cookies or anything that has coconut in the recipe. The sweet, mild flavor makes them work well in crust recipes for cheesecake and tarts as well.
Hazel Nuts – This nut’s popularity is crazy! (Hello, Nutella anyone?) Great in any chocolate recipe, also give them a try in this Praline Paste and then incorporate it into this smooth Hazelnut Vanilla Cheesecake recipe.
The nuts listed above are just scratching the surface of available options for favorite baking recipes. So start gathering the recipes you’re known for plus a few new ones that might also call for pistachios, pine nuts, cashews or even Spanish peanuts. And fresh nuts are a must, because a rancid bite will ruin even the best recipe.
The purpose of this series is to get your baking pantry stocked and ready one week at a time, one small investment at a time. Be sure you’ve stocked up on baking sugars here and get your list of different types of flour here. A list of spices you might want to stock up on can be found here. And, no baking pantry is complete without the plethora of chocolate and cocoa listed here.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Hazel Nuts
- Pine Nuts
Note: The drool-worthy pantry ideas featured during this series can be found here.