There are bound to be some unexpected assorted nuts at your holiday party. Maybe a crazy uncle with an eye patch or a dance troupe of Danish Marzipan Sheperdesses. Forgo the usual boxed crackers, skip the untouched bowl of whole nuts and make your very own nut crackers. You just never know when a dancing royal Nut Cracker might show up at your party. Wouldn’t that be nuts?
The Nut cracker
1½ cup of almond flour, packed
¼ cup of nut oil (almond, hazelnut or walnut)
1½ tsp salt
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/3 cup filled with assorted unsalted nuts and seeds, chopped small
Here are some excellent examples of nuts and seeds
• pumpkin seeds, left whole
• sesame seeds, left whole
• chopped walnuts
• chopped hazelnuts
• sunflower seeds, left whole
Serve with assorted cheeses and cold cuts
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
To make your own almond flour, just blitz blanched slivered almonds in the food processor until they resemble fine sand, or buy it already ground.
Get a large bowl.
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is thoroughly combined.
Get a large baking sheet ready.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper down on a counter.
Scoop out the ball of nut dough and place it in the center of the parchment. Use your hands to flatten it out into a large rectangle. Place another piece of parchment on top and grab a rolling pin (or a wine bottle).
Use just a little pressure to roll out the dough starting in the middle and rolling up, then starting back in the middle and rolling down. Rotate and repeat.
Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick all over and try to keep the edges from getting to crumbly.
Now slide the flat dough onto the baking sheet.
Remove the top piece of parchment. Before you bake, cut out the crackers using a round cookie cutter or a pizza cutter. For the cookie cutter cut out rounds and leave them where they lie with all the filler dough left untouched too. Or you could use a pizza cutter to cut squarish shapes.
Blap the tray into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool. They will become more cracker-like as they cool.
When cool keep the crackers in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
gets along with
Most nuts get along with salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, pepper. Cumin, paprika, figs, prunes, parsley, beets, carrots, assorted cheeses.
For unshelled nuts, pick nuts that have dry, clean shells with no signs of mold around the edges. For shelled nuts, choose whole nuts that are not broken, not too dry looking and they should feel heavy for their size. If. Get them raw or roasted, but avoid salted nuts for cooking in recipes.
is available at Community Natural Foods
and Planet Organic
. Assorted nuts from Going Nuts Inc., Calgary Farmers’ Market, Currie Barracks, www.goingnuts.ca.
Sweet and spicy nuts. Get a large frying pan over medium high heat. Place 2 cups of mixed raw nuts
(almonds, walnuts, hazelnut, cashews) in the pan and toss frequently until they smell nutty and look toasty, about 5 minutes. If you are using roasted nuts, they will only take 2 minutes to warm up.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp of maple syrup
and 1 Tbsp of butter
on the nuts and continue tossing with a wooden spoon to coat the nuts. When the nuts are sticky and glossy sprinkle on some salt
and a pinch of cayenne to taste
. Sprinkle the salt and cayenne from really high so it distributes evenly all over the nuts instead of just in one hot spot that will light someone’s face on fire.
Pour the nuts in a single layer onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and allow them to cool before serving in a festive bowl.
Here are some nutty lyrics from a classic Christmas ditty I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas
, by Yogi Yorgesson
“Oh I yust go nuts at Christmas,
Shopping sure drives me berserk
On the day before, I rush in da store
Like a nervous nelly yerk.”