It was at that class that he learned how to make these nuts with bitters. Oh my. These nuts are so, so good. He recently served them at a large party and every single person there was flipping out and wanting the recipe. That's how good these were. They really are the best, most unique and flavorful spiced nuts I've ever had.
So what are bitters? They are herbal essences using aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruit. They come in many different varieties and are often used to flavor drinks, but are also used to flavor all kinds of foods. See the recipe for the nuts, below. This recipe is going in the Kofoed recipe hall of fame...and for sure I'll want to make these nuts for the holidays - maybe as gifts. I'm also thinking a bottle of these bitters would make an amazing gift for anyone who geeks out over artisanal cooking of anything.
SWEET AND SPICY BITTER BAR NUTS
Makes 4 cups
4 cups unsalted raw nuts, preferably a mix of cashews, pecans, walnuts and almonds.
1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted melted butter
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters (this is the secret ingredient nobody will guess)
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper (depending on desired heat)
1 1/2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Spread nuts on a baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes, giving the pan a shake at the 5 minute mark.
While the nuts are toasting, combine the brown sugar, butter, bitters, honey, cayenne, cinnamon and rosemary in a large bowl. Add the warm nuts to the bowl and mix them to throughly coat. Add the sea salt in stages during the mixing.
Let cool but they are best served warm.
Fee Brothers Bitters Aromatic Bitters can be found at Union Market (in Brooklyn) for around $7 or on Amazon. The bottle lasts a long time. Bitters go great in Ginger Ale and Cream Soda. I also have used it in apple cider, apple pie and apple Cinammon oatmeal to add a little kick. Think of it as liquid spice.
A fun note: Fee Brothers, in Rochester, NY, has been making bitters since 1864. Our friend has tasted many, many different bitters but says the one above is the all time best one.
Have you ever used or tasted bitters? What do you use it for? I know I could be one of the few that has never heard of it.
(images by Lady Gouda)