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Ask the Experts...About Baking with Nuts

Q: Nuts are high in fat. Is this a good place to cut fat in my baking?

Dear Baker: Actually, as we move toward lower fat cooking methods, there is good reason to add nuts for sensory appeal and nutrition. There is so much good news about the phytonutrients, fiber and, "good" mono-saturated fat nuts bring to the table that it would be a shame to cut fat with them. Opt for fewer fried or breaded foods or use less salad dressing, and sprinkle on the nuts. Here are some great ways to use nuts:

  • Toast nuts, chopped or unchopped, for maximum flavor. Toast on a baking sheet for 5 minutes at 350°F. Sprinkle over desserts or stir into baked goods.
  • Chop nuts and add to yeast breads, a typically low-fat product, for a special flavor. Knead them in at the end of the kneading or mixing phase. About 1 cup chopped nuts per loaf is wonderful.
  • Just before flipping pancakes or before closing the waffle iron, sprinkle each pancake or waffle with a few broken nuts. They toast and add a wonderful crunch.
  • Grind nuts into flour in your processor and use for part of the flour in your pastries for pie or quiche.
  • Chopped nuts: When a recipe calls for "1 cup chopped nuts," the nuts should be chopped before measuring. If it says "1 cup nuts, chopped" it refers to chopping after measuring the nuts.

(See Ask the Experts... About Storage.)