Whether you`re using pine nuts in salads or walnuts in cookie dough, a gentle toasting intensifies the nuts` flavor and maximizes their crunchiness. Toasting nuts to gives them more flavor and crunch and releases their delicious, aromatic natural oils.
One way to toast a batch of nuts is in a medium oven (325 to 375 F). Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, stirring them up every few minutes.
For a handful of nuts, you can even use a dry skillet over medium heat. Just be sure to shake and stir constantly to avoid overdone or burnt ones.
The nuts will be ready in 5 to 10 minutes; small nuts like pistachios will toast much faster than bigger ones like Brazil nuts. You`ll know they`re done when they`re lightly browned and a delicious nutty smell fills the air.
Freshly toasted nuts dry and firm as they cool. So don`t worry if the nuts look and smell done but seem somewhat soft.
They`ll also continue to brown slightly off the heat, so it`s better to remove them sooner than later. Immediately remove the nuts from the hot pan to stop the cooking process.
If you plan to chop the nuts in a food processor or blender, be sure to let them cool completely. When still warm, their oils are runny, and you may end up with nut butter.
Toasted nuts have a shorter shelf life than raw nuts. So store toasted nuts, tightly covered, in a cool, dry spot, and use them within a week or two.