The Ultimate Bar Nuts

Hot nuts from Union Square Cafe


Obsession. There is no other way to describe the way I feel about these nuts. These hot nuts. Look, I'm not proud that I am officially obsessed with hot nuts. I love a good innuendo and nothing makes me dirty giggle more than talking about how much I love the taste of these hot nuts in my mouth. But, make these just once, and you too, will want these hot nuts in your mouth all the time. <snicker>

I first heard about this recipe on the Food Network show, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," when Giada DeLaurentiis and her blinding white teeth (yes, Giada, I see your teeth, please put at least half of them away behind your lips) and her heaving bosom (yes, Giada, I see your boobs, please put at least half of them away behind a shirt), slobbered on and on about these hot nuts that are served at Happy Hour at the Union Square Cafe in New York.
And, I have to admit, they not only looked great, but also looked really easy to replicate at home, so I bookmarked them in my brain. Oh, who am I kidding. I'm 40 now, all bookmarks stay in my brain for approximately 4.5 seconds. I really made a note in my Blackberry, which is totally the boss of me.

A couple of months later, when putting together the menu for a dinner party on our deck, I remembered Giada's heaving blindingly white bosom teeth, and looked up the recipe. And who was noted as the author of the recipe on the Food Network website, but the Queen of the Heaving Bosom... Nigella Lawson!  I love me some Nigella, so I was starting to feel really good about this recipe. Turns out, I was right. Two things that Nigella, Giada and I have in common… heaving bosoms and a love for these hot nuts in our mouth.

Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

Recipe courtesy of Food Network, modified just a bit

2 1/4 cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts (if you happen to have a Trader Joe's near you, I have found that the perfect assortment is one bag of their fancy mixed nuts (cashews, pistachios, almonds, macadamias), and half a bag of peanuts also from TJ's. For both, I buy the 50% less salt variety)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (yes, that is 2 Tablespoons, and that is very important)
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter.

Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. Obsess.

These keep really, really well for about a week. If I am taking to a party and want them to still be warm, I line a cookie tin with foil, and make the nuts just before I hit the road. The cookie tin will keep them nice and warm for quite some time.

Dawn Diffenderffer-Baker has spent the last 40 years of her life fighting mediocrity and developing her personality into that of a bawdy broad. If she could roller skate, she would definitely be a derby girl, but only for the cursing part. She is a self-taught cook, who loves to entertain in her Baltimore home with her beloved husband, Joe, and two misfit dogs, Baxter and Archie. Dawn has a great appreciation for wine, especially Malbec, and loves champagne. Though really, it’s sparkling wine, and we all know it.

Mentioned in this article


  • this made me laugh out loud...I will have to try the recipe

    Jun 29, 2011 at 5:43 PM

  • Snooth User: gmaxart
    876094 1

    Forget yum-oh try YUM-AHHH!, spicy hot nuts sound awesomely delicious! What adult beverage would one pair with this (aside from beer)?

    Jun 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

  • Snooth User: db1207
    275085 1

    Does this recipe call for 2 1/4 cups assorted mixed nuts AND 1/2 bag peanuts? If so, for those of us that don't have a TJ, what does 1/2 bag equate to?

    Jun 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

  • @db1207 - A bag of TJ's peanuts is 16 oz., so 8 oz. or a cup of peanuts. Yes, I use a whole bag of mixed nuts, plus the cup of peanuts. This recipe is really flexible though, so you can easily play around with the different types of nuts and the amounts. I hope you all enjoy!

    Jun 29, 2011 at 8:51 PM

  • Snooth User: mbuehler
    876079 8

    YUM! I too have these nuts in my mouth on a regular basis! They are so good!

    Jun 29, 2011 at 9:12 PM

  • Snooth User: tmock4
    876106 0

    I would have known this article was written by Dawn even if she hadn't sent it to me thru email. Dawn is a real hoot and I love her dearly. I worked with her for a number of years and she is truly a "good ole broad" for sure. She is everything she wrote about herself and much much more. I'm not at all surprised that her first article is about hot nuts. She's the best.

    Jun 29, 2011 at 9:40 PM

  • Snooth User: karat
    541180 345

    they sound great! what is more entertaining - these nuts or this article?

    Jun 30, 2011 at 12:08 AM

  • Dawn, from another bawdy broad who produces world class wines, thanks for the great idea! Going to try it out with some of our favorites this weekend.
    Fat grams must be off the charts, but sounds amazing! Thanks SO much for sharing.

    Jun 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

  • Snooth User: nratt
    678530 69

    I'm lovin' me some DawnDB sense of humor. The hot nuts recipe ain't too shabby either. Will try it for the holiday weekend. And, does Dawn have her own blog?

    Jun 30, 2011 at 5:46 PM

  • Thanks everyone for the warm welcome! Speaking of lovely warm things, yes, these hot nuts are one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth, and even though the fat grams are probably off the charts, they are worth the treat every once in a while. They pair wonderfully with just about everything, including my favorite sparkling wine and the best summertime drink ever, White Sangria. Try them this weekend if you get a chance, and let me know what you think, please! Thanks again!

    Jun 30, 2011 at 6:58 PM

  • Dawn, ok I am so sold! I am getting the ingredients and doing this. Fat grams and all! lol They are healthy, natural foods - right? Gotta be good for you!
    Having a dinner on Sunday for my daughter's birthday (July 4th - early). Great time to try it out. Have a son and son-in-law who are amazing cooks and always into new really great foods. I am going to blow their minds with this one! LMAO Chill out some of our "Best of Class" Traminette and enjoy!
    Thanks again. WIll let you know how it goes.

    Jun 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM

  • Wonderful! I hope you love them, and can't wait to hear how your celebration turns out! Please, definitely let me know.

    Jun 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM

  • Snooth User: shanadia
    858471 14

    thanks for recipe will give it a try this week-end.

    Jul 01, 2011 at 11:37 AM

  • Snooth User: shanadia
    858471 14

    made your bar nuts...was a great success..will go in my keeper recipes..thank-you..

    Jul 03, 2011 at 1:17 AM

  • Shanadia....I'm so glad you enjoyed them, and they made the keeper pile! Thanks for the feedback!

    Jul 03, 2011 at 7:36 PM

  • Snooth User: AnnaRita
    652558 12

    Omg!!!! They are amazingly good! Best hot nuts in my mouth in forever! Lol I am obsessed....made them twice in less than a week! Thanks so much.

    Jul 08, 2011 at 6:00 PM

  • Snooth User: shanadia
    858471 14

    JUST had to let you know i took your nuts to a garden party today and they were a smashing hit..wrote the recipe on the container as got tired of telling how to make them..a keeper recipe for sure..thanks again..shan

    Jul 10, 2011 at 12:21 AM

  • So great! AnnaRita, I am so glad you share the obsession for hot mouth nuts...hee! They also keep well in an airtight container, and are almost equally delicious at room temperature, if not quite so scandalous.

    Shan...a smash hit...wonderful! Thanks for the great feedback, and passing the recipe forward. They really are a keeper, and hopefully, hot mouth nuts will sweet the nation. Ha!

    Jul 10, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network