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Top Pick Of The Week

May 29, 2007

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Nutorious Nuts - Cherry Vanilla

Nutorious Nuts’ Door County Cherry Vanilla, the top-seller, combines Montmorency cherries and Madagascar vanilla. These gourmet mixed nuts make wonderful gifts, and are delicious snacks and creative ingredients.

WHAT IT IS: Fresh-roasted gourmet nut mixes, candied and flavored.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Not too sugary, just right so that you’re eating “nuts,” not “sweets.”
WHY WE LOVE IT: Five refreshing mixed nut flavors that can be enjoyed as snacks, after dinner with coffee or in recipes. And they’re inexpensive gifts that make recipients very happy.
WHERE TO BUY IT: NutoriousNuts.com and select specialty retailers.
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Nicely Notorious:
Nutorious Nuts

We have developed a fondness for Nutorious Nuts, gourmet mixed nuts that we first tasted in a sea of thousands of other foods at a huge trade show. They stood out for their moderation: an assortment of almonds, pecans and walnuts panned with just a touch of sweetness, so that the individual nut flavors and other seasonings were not hijacked by the sugar bowl. As a result, one can enjoy a snack of nuts along with the natural-tasting orange/cranberry, chocolate/coconut and other flavors lightly layered upon them. Try some of the myriad of sweet gourmet nut mixes out there and you’ll know why we find Nutorious Nuts such a delightful surprise: We feel like we’re eating “nuts” instead of “sweets.” There’s enough variety to enjoy a different flavor each [week]day, from the cinnamon-chile profile of Cha Cha Chipotle to the fruity Door County Cherry Vanilla, which offers up a moist, dried Montmorency cherry every other bite or so.

Is it a snack? Is it a confection? Nutorious Nuts provide protein from the nuts, a bit of sugar for the sweet tooth, spices for variety and the multitasking talent of a cooking ingredient. Toss them onto salads and other foods, top cupcakes with them; when people stop by for coffee and you have no pastry to offer, a ramekin of Nutorious Nuts more than suffices. If you want your guests to stay longer, offer them seconds. Read the full review below.

THE NIBBL does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Nifty Nut Dishes

Heart Ramekins Michael Aram Nut Dish Monkey Candy Dish
Le Creuset Heart Ramekins. This set of 4 heart-shaped, 8-ounce ramekins can be used for baking or to to serve nuts and condiments. Chestnut brown exterior with different colored insides. Click here for more information or to purchase. Michael Aram “Molten” Nut Dish. This highly polished 6.5" stainless steel nut bowl by a top tableware designer provides a glittering backdrop for Nutorious nuts, and looks handsome while completely empty. Click here for more information or to purchase. Monkey/Banana Nut Dish. Will the monkey share the nuts? If not, a portion of sales from Arthur Court Designs products will fund wildlife preservation. It’s 5" wide, in sand-cast aluminum. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Nutorious Nuts: Nicely Notorious

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, the artisanal confectioner Nutorious Nuts makes gourmet candied-nut mixes that are worth revisiting no matter how frequently you grab a handful of mixed nuts. Currently in five flavors, ranging from softly sweet to somewhat spicy, these nuts are so good that they deserve to become “nutorious.”

The company name puns on the word notorious, Medieval Latin for “well-known.” The negative connotation of the word arose in the 17th century, from frequent association with derogatory nouns—e.g., notorious gambler. We encourage you to turn back the pages of time and think not of the notorious Jesse James, but of the nut confection that could make Green Bay notorious in a much tastier way than the beer that made Milwaukee famous.

If we have any hairs to split, it’s that the manufacturer insists on calling the nuts “decadent”—a negative word that is almost always misused when applied to food. People who label sweets or other foods as “decadent” are invariably referring to something that is very rich and voluptuous (meaning indulgent in luxury, pleasure and sensuous enjoyment—the word people mean to choose when they use decadent, which means self-indulgent in a degenerate or corrupt fashion). Etymology aside, Nutorious Nuts is neither voluptuous nor decadent: It is so deftly light, that despite the sugar coating, we could almost convince ourselves that it’s a healthy snack. Rather than compare Nutorious Nuts to “decadent” chocolate truffles or even a less-rich chocolate bar, we’d look at positioning a product made of heart-healthy, high-protein nuts as a healthier but sweetly satisfying “nut-ricious” treat. Let’s move on to the food review and the health and nutrition report on nuts, so you can see why.


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Nutorious Nuts Flavors

Each batch of Nutorious Nuts is handmade. The process is proprietary, but fresh-roasted nuts are panned with butter, sugar, a variety of spices and flavorings and egg whites as a binder. They’re all-natural (well, the bittersweet chocolate contains vanillin, but maybe they’ll change to a product with real vanilla—and the chocolate tastes fine, regardless).

Ooo La La Original. The basic recipe combines three nuts—whole almonds, pecans, and walnut halves—in a buttery base. Original is a bit tame, only because so much more excitement awaits in the other flavors.

Chocolate Coconutty. Add toasted coconut and bittersweet chocolate to the blend, and you have the perfect treat for someone who once loved Almond Joy but has moved on to more sophisticated tastes. When the melted chocolate hardens  on the panned nuts, it creates even larger nuggets than the other flavors—but that’s not the only reason why this may be our favorite flavor. We just love chocolate and coconut (there are many Almond Joys in our own past), and it’s hard to find these two flavors in such an elegant combination. Like all Nutorious varieties, there’s a restrained hand here: not too much chocolate, not too much coconut. The nuts always rule.

Door County* Cherry Vanilla. The best-seller adds plump, dried Montmorency cherries and Madagascar vanilla to the basic mix. We might wish for a few more cherries, but it’s fine as is: It’s more of a nice surprise when you bite into one.

Nutorious Nuts - Ooh La La Original
Oooo La La Original: the “base blend” upon which all
other flavors are built.

These two ingredients make Cherry Vanilla the sweetest of the flavors—relatively speaking. None of the flavors is too sweet, and that’s the nice thing about Nutorious Nuts. Not everyone has a big sweet tooth: This is a wonderful product line for people who want something that’s just a little on the sweet side. And, those of us who are suckers for sugar can be pleasantly surprised at how delicious sweets can be when they’re toned down by confectioners who know the fine art of seasoning.

*Door County is the home of Green Bay, named not because of a once-thriving door industry, but for something more colorful and poignant. The straits between the top of the peninsula and Washington Island had a wicked current that caused many a shipwreck, and were known by the French explorers as “La Porte des Morts,” the door of the dead.

Cranberry Orange. While dried cranberries and orange oil may evoke the holidays to some people, this a refreshing blend any time of the year—it’s 80 degrees outside as we eat these, and they seem like the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot coffee or an iced tea—we’ve just had both. That being said, the flavor profile makes Cranberry Orange a seasonal gift that can be used to remember a long list of folks inexpensively, and a stocking stuffer for everyone else (but any Nutorious flavor works for the holidays).

It’s hard to pick favorite flavors because they’re all so good, but Cranberry Orange might tie with Chocolate Coconutty for our affections.

Cha Cha Chipotle. A sweet and savory chipotle seasoning with a medium amount of heat, this is the flavor that goes best with a beer. The first few bites taste like sweet cinnamon and make you wonder where the chipotle is, until you hit the top of the seasoning bell curve and the chipotle takes over. You don’t need a beverage to mitigate the heat, though: The Nutorious team understands the finesse of seasoning. While all the flavors work as ice cream toppers, we really enjoyed this one in a vanilla ice cream parfait with cinnamon-accented whipped cream. (Ideally, infuse the cream with a fresh cinnamon stick before whipping; but you can use a scant 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon instead, along with the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Most recipes call for 1-½ tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar per pint of heavy cream).

Recipes & Serving Suggestions

Creative cooks will find many things to do with Nutorious Nuts—if they can stop eating them straight from the bag.

Nutorious Cranberry Orange Scones

Scones
Bake Nutorious Nuts into scones for something deliciously different. Photo by Vince Teodoro|IST.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups Nutorious Cranberry Orange, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Add butter. Mix with an electric mixer on low until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 2 minutes. Stir in Nutorious Cranberry Orange on low speed. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs until well blended. Reserve 1/4 cup milk mixture. Add remaining milk mixture to dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Gently knead dough on lightly floured surface 5 or 6 times.
  2. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Shape each portion into a circle 10 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Cut each into 12 wedges.
  3. Place dough on greased full sheet pan. Brush surface with reserved milk mixture. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 24 scones.

Nutorious Maple Dijon Salad

You can toss Nutorious Nuts into almost any salad, but here’s a recipe for starters:

Salad Dressing

  • ¾ cup salad oil (e.g., olive, avocado,
    macadamia)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Granny Smith apple, cubed
  • Dried cranberries or dried cherries
    (amount to taste)
  • Nutorious Ooo La La Original Mix
Salad With Nuts and Cherries
Toss Nutorious Nuts onto a salad.

Directions

  1. Whisk dressing ingredients. Heat slightly in microwave.
  2. Drizzle over greens and Granny Smith apple mix.
  3. Sprinkle with dried cherries or cranberries and Nutorious Ooo La La Original mix.

Nutorious Nuts - Cha Cha Chipotle
Cha Cha Chipotle: sweet heat.

Cake & Cookie Recipes

  • Replace the nuts in your regular recipes with Nutorious nuts for extra dimensions of flavor.
  • Use them whole or chopped, to garnish icings and frostings, or in the filling between layers.

Serving Suggestions

In addition to snacks:

  • Puddings, ice cream and frozen yogurt toppings and parfaits.
  • For breakfast or brunch on top of pancakes, waffles and yogurt.
  • Poultry, pork and seafood preparations
  • A bowl of tomato or squash soup
  • Nut cups with coffee.

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How Many Different Types Of Pancakes Can You Top With Nutorious Nuts?
There are dozens of different types of pancakes, from Danish aebleskivers to Hungarian palacintas and Swedish pancakes. Read about all of them in our Pancake Glossary.

Nuts, Health & Nutrition

It’s true that nuts are high in calories and fat—but they’re the good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3s), which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. They can be so tempting that some people have a hard time not looking at the nut bowl as “a portion.” But, as with other delicious things, if you can learn to recognize what a proper portion is, you can enjoy it and reap good nutritional benefits as well.

  • Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein and are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium, and plant sterols.
  • People who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease. The 1996 Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who ate nuts more than four times a week were 40% less likely to die of heart disease. A 1998 Harvard School of Public Health study found similar results for women and potential heart-health benefits for men. In 2002, the Physician’s Health Study found that men who consumed nuts two or more times per week had reduced risks of sudden cardiac death.
  • Based on this and other research, in 2003 the FDA approved the following health claim for seven types of nuts†, including the three in Nutorious Nuts: “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
  • Nutritionists recommend that you can enjoy a daily 1- or 2-ounce serving of nuts by replacing other foods in your diet that are high in saturated fats with the nuts.

†Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts were approved by the FDA, since they contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g.

O.K.—Nutorious Nuts don’t count as health food, but given all the other stuff we could pick up to satisfy our sweet tooth, they are a healthier sweet treat.

The bags are resealable. Better they should come with a time lock, because we still haven’t learned the meaning of “two ounces.” But we’re sure that you have more restraint than we do.

—Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who likes a multitasking snack, garnish and baking ingredient and an inexpensive gift idea.

NUTORIOUS

Flavored Nut Mixes: Cha Cha Chipotle, Chocolate Coconuttty, Door County Cherry Vanilla, Ooo La La Original, Orange Cranberry

  • 8-Ounce Resealable Package
    $8.49

Purchase online at NutoriousNuts.com

Available at select specialty food stores and gift stores nationwide. Check website for a store near you.

Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping additional.

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Nutorious Nuts


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