Gramercy Tavern Bar Nuts
The last time I was at Gramercy Tavern, I was on a date — and it wasn’t with my husband — so you can imagine, this is going back quite some time. Those were the days when it was nothing to hop on a train to New York City Friday after work, visit some friends, go out on a date (with a guy from another city, no less!) and be back at work Monday morning no worse for the wear. Ahh, the twenties.
Well, obviously, the guy didn’t last but the restaurant made a lasting impression. To this day, that dinner is one of my all time favorite dining experiences.
So, naturally, when Danny Meyer (founder of Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla and many more) came out with his cocktail and bar fare book, Mix Shake Stir, I was all over it. I’ve already adapted one recipe from the book, Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts, and it’s a definite winner. This one’s very good too; with strong notes of cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, ginger and brown sugar, it’s an exotic, salty-spicy-sweet combination.
The first time I made these nuts, I followed the recipe in the book to a tee. They were incredibly salty – which I suppose is a good thing if you’re selling drinks in a bar — but I enjoyed them much more when I made them again and cut way back on the salt. The original recipe also calls for turbinado sugar and simple syrup, things most restaurants keep on hand, but since most home cooks don’t, I made some modifications so you don’t need it. This version is easy to make at home and just as delicious.
So here you go, a specialty from one of the most acclaimed restaurants in NY, and you don’t have to take a train, get all dressed up or go out on a date to have them…although I guess that doesn’t sound all bad.
Gramercy Tavern Bar Nuts
Makes 3½ cups
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ tablespoon kosher salt
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (these are spicy…use less if you prefer)
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons water
1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup
3½ cups roasted, unsalted nuts (any combination of cashews, pecans, and almonds)
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all ingredients except for nuts in a medium bowl. Add nuts and toss with spice mixture until evenly coated. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, stirring once halfway. When nuts are done, the cashews will be a shade more golden than they started. Stir nuts with spatula, then carefully slide or lift parchment and nuts off hot baking sheet onto countertop and let cool completely. Break up nuts with your hands. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to one week.
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