Why toast ground nuts? The heating process can help them hold their own against the weight of cake, bread and muffin batter. It also helps them retain their naturally healthy brown color and prevents them from turning black while they simmer in batter. And if they're not awash in batter, toasted ground walnuts add an appealing crunch on top of yogurt, salads, pasta dishes and casseroles of every genre.
Heat a sauté pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Toast them dry or with just a trace of vegetable oil or nonfat cooking spray; walnuts naturally emit their own oils. Cook the walnuts for just a few minutes, stirring them constantly until they turn a deeper shade of brown. Remove them from the heat and keep stirring; they will continue to toast for a few minutes as they cool down.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the ground walnuts on a baking sheet. Pat them down with a spoon. Toast the walnuts for about three minutes and stir them so that you brown them as thoroughly as you can. Bake them for a few more minutes and keep an eye on them. Trust your eyes and err on the side of removing them from the oven sooner rather than later. Oven-baked walnuts also continue to cook a little once they’re removed from the heat.
Place the ground nuts in a glass dish and pat them down with a spoon. Microwave the nuts on “medium” to start, but check them and stir every minute or so and reduce the temperature if they cook too quickly. Microwaving ground walnuts may be fast and easy, but it also may not impart as much flavor as sautéing and baking.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images