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Spiced nuts come in many variations.  This version from New York’s Union Square Cafe is one of them–and a very good one it is, too.  To serve them warm with aperitifs is a simple matter of putting them in the oven to reheat for a few minutes.

Books and movies advertise their quality with selected quotes.  Restaurants and food sometimes do too.  Here, then, is a dinner guest’s evaluation of the Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts:  “Man, these are good!”

Warm Bar Nuts ~ Union Square Cafe (for 1 and 1/4 pounds of nuts)


  • 1 and 1/4 pounds of a mixture of nuts:  peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds are all possibilities: The Union Square Cafe recommends using unsalted ones.  The diplomatickitchen has used both salted and not–both are good.
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh Rosemary Leaves, coarsely chopped, or 2 teaspoons of dried Rosemary Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of Dark Brown Sugar…Light Brown Sugar will be fine, too
  • 2 teaspoons of Coarse Salt…Kosher, for example
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted Butter


  • a Baking Sheet with a rim, large enough to hold the nuts in a single layer

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  In a bowl, mix the melted Butter with the Rosemary, Cayenne, Sugar and Salt and set the bowl aside.

3.  Spread the nuts on the Baking Sheet and Toast them in the oven until they are golden.  (10 minutes is a good estimate of the time this will take.)

4.  Toss the nuts, still on the tray if you like, with the herb and spice mixture; put them in a bowl and serve them right away while they are still warm or…

5.  If the nuts are made in advance, toss the nuts with the mixture, leave them aside on the baking tray until just before serving, and reheat them for a minute or two.  If they are made a day or two in advance, store the nuts in a jar and return them to a tray to reheat.

A Note:  Warm Bar Nuts ~ Union Square Cafe are served with aperitifs in the Lunch Menu:  Lunch on a Winter’s DayThe recipe is an adaptation from one that originally appeared in Gourmet magazine in October 1994.

A Second Note:  A Mason jar of these nuts–maybe wrapped in tissue paper and tied with raffia–is a nice gift with the usual bottle of wine, to bring to someone else’s ‘moveable feast’.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012