Despite being a very serious month -- what with school starting and everything -- there's just something kind of nutty about fall. Maybe it's all those acorns piling up around us. But fall puts me in the mood for some nutty treats. I love that smell of pecans or almonds roasting in the oven, don't you?
Here are 10 ideas for nutty treats. How about a few snacks, hearty salad, some cozy muffins -- and make room for dessert! We've got them all.
Granola: You say nuts, I think granola. There are so many possibilities, but here's a recipe for maple pecan granola.
Toasted pumpkin seeds: Okay, technically they're not nuts. But toasted pumpkin seeds are definitely in the taste family, and they're so easy, too.
Spiced nuts: Like granola, there are so many possibilities for this crunchy snack. Here's one spiced nut recipe. Here's a recipe for curried pecans. Here's gingerbread walnuts. And here's backyard pecans with rosemary.
Chinese chicken salad: Sooo many salads have nuts -- including Chinese chicken salad with almonds. Chinese? Not really. Yummy? Yes!
Walnut tacos: Did you even know such a thing existed? This is a fun veggie alternative to the classic, walnut tacos with avocado cream.
Muffins: These walnut streusel pumpkin muffins must smell amazing while they're baking in the oven.
Caramel pecan pumpkin pie: Time for dessert! This recipe for caramel pecan pumpkin pie slays me.
Chocolate nut clusters: Sure they look like reindeer poo, but that just means you won't have to share your chocolate nut clusters.
And now, my favorite: Chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies. I've made these cookies and... I can't even describe how yummy they are.
Chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies via Epicurious
2/3 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan in oven until skins split and nuts are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven (turn oven off), then wrap hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub to remove any loose skins. Cool nuts completely. Pulse nuts with granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.
Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
Form and bake cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and chill 1 half, wrapped in plastic wrap. Roll remaining half into 1-inch balls, placing them on a sheet of wax paper as rolled. Roll balls, 3 or 4 at a time, in confectioners sugar to coat generously and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.
Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centers are still slightly soft), 12 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies (still on parchment) to racks to cool completely.
While first batch is baking, roll remaining dough into balls. Line cooled cookie sheets with fresh parchment, then coat balls with confectioners sugar and bake in same manner.
What's your favorite thing to do with nuts?
Image via jimw/Flickr