My go to munchie nuts have been my cousin Bonnie’s Spicy Pecans.  Sweet and spicy with hints of clove, ginger and cinnamon they are addictive-they are my crack.  During the holidays I make tons of these nuts.  So much so I dreamt about them in my sleep.  Auugh! Time for a change. Now don’t get me wrong, I love them and will continue to make a batch or two or three but I think it best if I have a fall back…see what is outside my little nut bubble. So, I google nuts, candied, spicy, recipes and wouldn’t you know it what pops up, Smitten Kitchen. In her archives I find a recipe for Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts.  Hmm, wait a minute, I think I have that cookbook. I can picture it-green cover, Danny Meyer, NYC, iconic.  So I go to pull it out….45 minutes later after searching my stacks of books (help, is there a Cookbooks Anonymous out there?) I find it-EUREKA.  I dust off the cover, flip through it and there on page 8, Union Square Bar Nuts. Yes. So here it is in all its yumminess.  I adapted the recipe a wee bit combining advice from the book and Smitten Kitchen (I feel like a SK groupie, hope she doesn’t think I am stalking her).  I hope you will try it, a delicious alternative to my cousin’s Spicy Pecans and best of all it is STUPID EASY.

These have only a hint of sweetness and border on a little salty (you can adjust if you like) but that’s why they are perfect bar nuts!  The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary.  I thought wow that seems like alot, but it doesn’t overwhelm the nuts at all.  I used 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and thought it was fine but feel free to up the heat if you like spicy.  If you don’t have kosher salt, you can probably use regular table salt just cut the amount by half.  I ended up buying a jar of mix dry roasted UNSALTED nuts at Costco.  Its a nice combination of cashews, pecans, almonds and pistachios.  You could definitely use cashews or pecans alone but I think the mix is nice.  Plus its a good deal!  You can use olive oil instead of butter (hello veggie friends).  Because the baking time is so short, you are literally just heating the nuts, I think it’s fine to use roasted nuts.

Pack in a cute jar, slap a ribbon around it, the makings of a great hostess gift.

Happy Hour anyone? I’ll bring these delicious Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts!

It’s A Nutty World (Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts)


  • 18-20 ounces nuts, can be a combination of cashews, pecans, almonds or walnuts or a single type of nut (3-5 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spread nuts on a baking sheet or sheet pan and toast 7-10 minutes or until they become light golden brown in color
  • In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients
  • Remove nuts from oven and toss in the butter/oil mixture until thoroughly coated
  • Return nuts to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  • Bar nuts can be served warm or at room temp.
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!