Showing posts with label nuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nuts. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Writer's Snack: Maple-Cinnamon Glazed Almonds with Pink Salt by Cleo Coyle

If you live in New York City, you better like nuts. (It goes with the territory.) 

These nuts are the kind you eat. They're deliciously addictive, and they'll make your kitchen smell like a Cinnabon store...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.
Cleo Coyle's
Extra Crunchy

Glazed Almonds
with Pink Salt

My husband remembers glazed nuts like these being cooked and served at his first ever "New York" party. That was over thirty years ago. "It was the first time I ever saw parchment paper," he said. (Spoken like a co-writer of culinary mysteries.) And, yes, you will need parchment paper to prevent the process from making a royal mess of your pan. 

The basic recipe (using egg whites to bind seasonings to nuts before roasting) has been around for decades. My husband and I didn't invent it, but we did create this particular combination of ingredients. We think the coarseness of our sugar and salt choices (Sugar in the Raw and roughly ground Himalayan pink salt) gives extra crunchiness to the coating, which makes them especially satisfying. They're easy to stir together and roast, outrageously addictive, and you can change the seasonings to your own liking. Here's how we do it...

For the PDF, click here.
To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.


1 egg white

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 cups whole, raw, shelled almonds

3/4 cup Sugar in the Raw (aka Turbinado sugar)

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground Himalayan pink salt

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine egg white and maple syrup and whisk well. Pour in the almonds and stir them gently until well coated with the egg white mixture. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado sugar), cinnamon, and pink salt. Now taste the mix of seasonings. Is it too salty or sweet for you? Do you want a stronger cinnamon flavor? Adjust to your liking. Pour the final dry seasoning mixture over the wet nuts and gently fold until well coated. Dump the bowl's contents onto a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper. Spread the nuts out in a single layer. Bake at 300° F. for about 30 minutes. Using a spatula, gently flip the nuts and cook for another 10 minutes. This flipping ensures that any dampness on the underside of the nuts will be cooked. Nuts are done when the outside coating becomes crisp. Cool completely before storing in a plastic bag or airtight container, and...

To download
the free PDF,

click here

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

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See the book's
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by clicking here.


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to Make Wet Walnuts: Easy Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, + More by Cleo Coyle

I'm making homemade
Wet Walnuts today!

My favorite breakfast lately has been a parfait of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, sliced banana, walnuts, and maple syrup. This combo is not only delicious, it's highly nutritious and recommended as a "probiotic-prebiotic" elixir. 

And what is a P&P elixir? Well... 

If you've seen a yogurt commercial lately, than you know that probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in your gut. They're also found in fermented foods like good quality yogurts with live and active cultures.

Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates, and they can be found in bananas, oatmeal, maple syrup, honey, and high-fiber foods. 

When these two "P" foods (pro- and prebiotics) are paired in a single meal, they contribute to healthy digestion and immune function. They also have a "synergistic relationship, because prebiotics feed the probiotics," as registered dietitian Nancy Clark puts it. You can read more on this subject at the Mayo Clinic website, by clicking here.

Whether or not you join me in my P&P parfait, I hope you'll enjoy today's recipe. In my kitchen, this amazing topping is a marriage of convenience between the walnuts and the maple syrup that I use in my P&P parfait. I keep my Wet Walnuts in small jars in the fridge, where I can quickly dip in a spoon and drizzle them with joy. 

(Truth) my husband (and partner in crime-writing) has no interest in my P&P parfaits, but he does absolutely love these Wet Walnuts spooned over vanilla Häagen-Dazs. So no matter how you serve them, I sincerely hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle’s 
Homemade Wet Walnuts 

(Maple-Walnut Caramel Topping
for Ice Cream, Yogurt, Oatmeal, and More...) 

 To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here

Cleo Coyle, who is nuts
about nuts, is author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Natural maple syrup is transformed during the cooking process of this recipe, and the resulting sauce tastes like caramel--but a caramel that's made without butter, cream, or refined white sugar. To learn more about maple syrup's nutritional and health benefits compared to white sugar, read my recent blog post on maple syrup (and tips on understanding its various grades) by clicking here.

TIP: Use the freshest walnuts you can find and you'll be happy with the result. I buy whole nuts, freshly shelled, from a local green grocer, and chop them myself. Sometimes I toast the nuts, sometimes not--so make that decision based on your own taste. According to, roasting nuts does not significantly damage their nutritional value. Read more here.

Adapted from the Vermont Maple Festival Cookbook (After experimenting with the original recipe, I altered the ingredients and amount of ingredients, and wrote up my own directions and variations, but the cookbook did inspire me!) 

Makes about 1-1/2 cups 


1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (*see my note below on toasting)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon hot tap water

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt)

1-1/2 cup pure maple syrup (**see my tips below on choosing)   

1 teaspoon vanilla (***or see my other flavor options) 


Step 1 - Prep Ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, hot tap water, and salt. Use a fork or small whisk and work the mixture until you see no lumps. Set aside. If you’d like to use toasted nuts in this recipe, then prepare the nuts now. (My directions on toasting nuts are at the end of this recipe). 

Step 2 - Cook the sauce: During this step, the syrup will bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a large, heavy saucepan that allows enough room for the bubbling (see my photo below). Pour the syrup into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the syrup bubbles up, turn the heat down, and simmer for one full minute while stirring continually. After a minute, stir in the cornstarch mixture that you prepared in the first step. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil and stir for a full minute. Turn off the heat and take the pan off the hot burner.

Step 3 - Remove from heat and finish: For best results, make sure the sauce is well off the boil before you stir in the vanilla or rum or liqueurs. (You don’t want to boil off the flavoring.) Finally, stir in the chopped nuts. The syrup will thicken as it cools but should remain pourable right from the refrigerator. If chilled sauce becomes hard, simply re-heat in a pan or microwave and stir in a few teaspoons of water before returning to the storage container and the fridge.

Drizzle over ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pound cake, puddings, pancakes, waffles, even fruit pies (especially apple pie). The sauce can be stored in an air tight container or glass jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. 


*TOASTING NUTS: Spread the chopped walnuts on a single layer of a baking sheet and heat for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F. Stir once about halfway through to prevent burning. Proceed with the recipe as written.

*PURE MAPLE SYRUP has one ingredient on the bottle--maple syrup. Do not use not "pancake syrup" or "maple-flavored table syrup" for this recipe; those products are artificial imitations of real maple syrup, which is made by boiling down maple tree sap. Look for Grade A, Medium or Dark Amber for this recipe. To learn more about maple grades, read my recent blog post on this subject by clicking here.

***FLAVOR OPTIONS: You can replace the vanilla with other options, including 1 tablespoon of dark rum; or 1 tablespoon of the following: Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur); Amaretto; or (if you can find it) Nocino (green walnut liqueur).

F o o d i e

P h o t o s

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aunt Ka's Chocolate Macaroons

by Sheila Connolly

My father's parents both came from Ireland (they met in New York), along with many of their siblings.  They all arrived in New York in the late 1890s or early 1900s, and the women found work, without exception, as domestic servants.  My grandfather, so I'm told, drove a horse-drawn milk truck, and he met my grandmother at the kitchen door at the house where she was working.

The Lawless Sisters: my grandmother
is on the left, Ka on the right
Several of these women never married but stayed "in service" until they retired or could no longer work.  My grandmother was one of the exceptions:  she worked for several years, and then when she and my grandfather married, they moved to Syracuse where she had a sister who had married a local contractor. She had her first child—my father—when she was 39.

When my grandmother arrived in this country, she brought along her youngest sister Katherine, known as Ka.  Poor Ka was only a year old when her mother died, so she was raised by an aunt in Ireland.  She spent most of her adult life working for a family in Darien, then New Canaan, Connecticut. (There's a family mystery there: apparently she married a man named Ryan, but it didn't work out and nobody ever mentioned him again, although she kept the name Ryan and a divorce was unlikely.) 

A decade or more ago I discovered that my father had somehow held on to the sum and total of what Ka had left:  a small suitcase with a few family pictures, and a spiral bound booklet—with recipes. It's not really long enough to be considered a cookbook.  If this were fiction, I'd tell you that it was filled with either treasured family recipes from Ireland or wonderful concoctions with which she wowed her employers for a couple of decades. 

Not so.  What I'm guessing is that it's a record of her employer's favorites (this was Charlotte Heyl of Wahackme Road in New Canaan): vegetable soup (with two tablespoons of sugar?), "Spanish rice" (with a half cup of sugar??), cheeze (sic) balls, made with "1 roll snappy cheeze (sic)," French dressing (with "4 heaping teaspoons sugar (perhaps more)…Shake like everything!", scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheeze (sic), chocolate pudding, and so on.  At best it's a snapshot of conservative foods from the nicer suburbs. At worst…they're awful recipes.

It was a challenge to decide which of these recipes to prepare, but in the end I settled for what are called


Butter size of an egg (half a stick?)
2 squares Baker's chocolate (I assume that back then it was all unsweetened)

Melt together over hot water.

Add one cup sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add 2 unbeaten eggs

Sift together 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt and beat in.  Add 1 tsp vanilla

Is this a handful?
Add 3 handfulls chopped nuts (I used walnuts) and 1/2 pound pecans. (A lot of nuts!)

All the nuts, chopped

Bake in a 325 oven for 10-12 minutes.

Okay, as you can see there are a few issues with this recipe.  Like, what size egg?  (I'll admit I always wanted to use a recipe with that measurement, though.)  And "handfuls" of nuts?  You may also note that there is no description of how to form these so-called macaroons.  On a greased baking sheet?  Large or small dollops?

I opted for using a Silpat, and making each cookie about one tablespoon of dough. The baking temperature and time worked. I let them cool briefly before I put them on a rack.  This recipe made 2 1/2 dozen cookies.  Basically they taste like very nutty brownies, but they're good.

P.S.  nobody ever said my relatives were good cooks!

Available now!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New York Nuts for New Years (the candied kind) from Cleo Coyle

We were hit with a little snow
here in New York City...

No, this is not my car. 
If it were, I would opt for
public transportation until April.

Shovel, shovel, shovel....

Even the NYPD got stuck. Our street is one way.
This police van is going the other.

By the way, this photo was taken
12 hours
after the storm ended.
City services? Hello! We do love the NYPD,
but snow removal experts they're not.
Send a snow plow, a salt truck, something!

Cleo Coyle, New York nut,
and author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries

So while we're waiting for the plow to come, let's consider New York nuts. It's a fact. People do crazy things in New York—like stand outside for hours on December 31st to watch a big ball drop at midnight. I’ve done it. My husband’s done it. Almost everyone who lives in NYC has done it, and most of us have done it only once. Why? Because it’s nuts!

Photo courtesy Times Square
and Countdown Entertainment, LLC 

It’s nuts because you have to get to the location eight to ten hours early and wait in freezing cold temperatures until the clock strikes midnight. It's nuts because, post 9/11, you aren't allowed to bring a backpack, a bag, or even a bottle of champagne. It's nuts because a bathroom break is nearly impossible. If you leave Times Square to hit a public facility, you won't be allowed back in. (More tips for seeing the Times Square ball drop here.)

In case you were wondering (because I was), the Times Square tradition actually began back in 1904 as a Don Draper-style marketing ploy to showcase the newly erected New York Times Building. Before then, people traditionally gathered at Trinity Church at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway to sing songs and wait for the church bells to ring at midnight. That first Times Square celebration drew 200,000 people. The organizers provided fireworks but no ball. Finally, in 1907 the ball was added and, with the exception of some years during World War II, has continued to drop annually to this day when it draws a physical audience of one million and a global televised audience of one billion. (More here.)


There is a foodie analogy here but not a happy one...

For some time now, my husband and I have heard raves about the "famous" bar nuts served at New York's Union Square Cafe. Okay, Nathan's hot dogs we've heard of. Egg creams, check. Black and White cookies, yes. Junior's Cheesecake, of course. But we never heard of these "famous" bar nuts before they were featured on the Food Network's My Favorite Things.

That Don Draper power of sell worked well on me. "Let's try the recipe and link to it!" I told my husband, Marc. (Click here to see the recipe but keep reading because I don't recommend it.) Marc and I read the recipe and trekked to the green grocer to buy the ingredients. We followed the directions exactly. Finally, we tasted them. Oh, nuts! Not good. Not good at all! Rosemary is a lovely spice. I use it often in my kitchen (see my recipe for Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Lemon here). But in this recipe, the piney rosemary completely overwhelmed the flavor of our beautiful, fresh nuts. We also thought tossing the nuts in butter after they were toasted took away some of the crunch that we really think is essential to enjoying a nutty snack.

What to do?

Because I really wanted to blog a nutty snack recipe in honor of our New Year's nuts, I turned to another famous New York nut -- the candied variety. Here in the city, you'll find hot, freshly sugared nuts cooked right on local vendors' carts. David Lebovitz does a version here that will work with whole, round, raw nuts like peanuts or almonds. Today, I'm going to share my own quick and dirty version that works better for walnuts, pecans, cashews, and chopped hazelnuts (the kind of nuts that have nooks and crannies).

Finally, if you have a favorite nut recipe to share for New Year's Eve snack bowls, by all means tell me about it in the comments section or leave a link. (I just hope it doesn't include rosemary!)

Cleo Coyle's
New York Nuts


Any combination of...

Walnuts, pecans, cashews, and/or chopped hazelnuts (see my note)*

Butter (see below for amount)

Light brown sugar (ditto)

*Nuts not to use in this recipe: almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts. The almonds are too bitter, the Brazil nuts too big, and the peanuts not a mild and sweet enough flavor to work well here.

Ratio: For ever 1 cup (in volume)* of nuts, use 1-1/2 Tablespoons of butter, and 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed. *(By weight: 4 ounces or about 100 grams)

Directions: Place nuts in warm skillet and toss over medium-high until nice and hot. Add butter and continue tossing to coat the nuts. Before butter is completely melted, add the light brown sugar. Continually stir the nuts and sugar in the skillet until the sugar melts. Pour the hot, candied nuts onto a baking sheet that's been covered in parchment paper. Scrape any remaining syrup over the nuts and spread evenly into one layer.  When the nuts have completely cooled and dried, break apart any large clumps and eat with joy!

An important question: Why not just melt the butter and sugar together in the skillet and then add the nuts? While this method will work, I find that working the undissolved sugar into the nooks and crannies of the walnuts, pecans, cashews, and/or chopped hazelnuts gives a much more delightful result. Also, warming the nuts in the hot pan will partially toast them, bringing out their flavor, as well.

New Year,


~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or find out more about my books, visit me
 at my *virtual* coffeehouse:

Click on the book covers above
to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Honey of a Good Time

This is a week where
is in order.

I've got deadlines, conferences, and lots of family events. I love to be busy. But sometimes if I'm THIS busy, I need to find ways to breathe!!!

So in honor of breathing and simplicity, let me share one of my favorite ways to enjoy cheese
-- serve it with jam and honey and nuts and dried fruits. Yes, honey and jam! Cheese laced with a sweet is fabulous!

Think mini crisp cheesecakes!

You create little morsels that make every cheese-y bite a new experience.

[Hint: There is no specific recipe in this particular blog. You are the inventor. Look in your refrigerator. Be creative. I pulled out a jar of my stepsister's homemade jam, one of my favorite honeys -- good for antioxidants -- and a nice pungent cheese. I added some banana chips and pecans. Oh, yeah!]

Add a glass of wine. And YUMMMMMMM!

So, for those of you who might be overworked, over-scheduled, or just over anything...

Raid your refrigerator.

Then take a moment for yourself.

Sit on the porch.

Drink in the sounds of the wind or rain or whatever weather is coming your way.

Eat something delicious.

Think of something that makes you smile.

And breathe. [It's the gift of life!]

In other news...

The winner of our Cookie Cutter contest is
Danica Rice!
Wahoo, Danica! Hope you enjoy making delicious cookies.

Also, our very own Jenn just had a new book released. Sprinkle with Murder is in bookstores near you!

And don't forget Jenn's cupcake contest! If you’d like to win cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop, send us an e-mail at or a comment with your idea of the wackiest cupcake ingredients you can think of.

What's not in the news but something that's free?
On my website, I offer tips or recipes, newsletters, pictures, inspirational quotes, and my favorite cheese of the moment. Check it all out by clicking this link