Santé Nuts are known to have an exceptional crunch. It's one of the things people love most about snacking on these delicious treats. But have you ever wondered how we get our nuts so crunchy? Wonder no more, because I'm here to tell you the secrets to Santé's crunch!
What makes food irresistibly crunchy? It's a texture that has some resistance when you chew, but not so much that it feels brittle or hard. A good crunch needs to last long enough to enjoy, but not so long that you have to keep working to chew. Food that's been oil roasted has a satisfying crunch because of a combination of airiness and low water content. The airiness gives it the snap, the low moisture gives it the hard texture, and together they form a crunch without brittle hardness. A crunch requires the perfect balance between all these textures. Food that's too airy won't stay that way once it's cooled and food that's too dry will just be unpleasant to eat. It's a difficult combination to achieve, but worth the effort.
When any food is cooked by oil roasting, the hot oil forces any water inside the food to turn to steam and escape. The escaping steam leaves the food with lower moisture. But just as important, the escaping steam also leaves the food with tiny channels that harden when they're cooled and create an airy texture. The more tunnels you can create, the more airy the crunch.
To make Santé Nuts so crunchy, it's not enough to just roast them in oil. It would be easier, but we would never get the same great crunch. Just oil roasting a nut would create the hard texture, but not the lightness that's needed to deliver such satisfying crunchiness. That's because nuts on their own don't have enough water in them that could get turned to steam and escape during roasting. The secret is all in the process Sara first used in her kitchen decades ago.
When she was still cooking over pots of oil in her kitchen, Sara was trying different techniques to achieve the texture she remembered from childhood treats made by her grandmother. While experimenting, she discovered that when she boiled the nuts first, the texture after oil roasting was irresistible. It turns out that boiling the nuts adds just the right amount of moisture to the nuts and that extra moisture allows for the perfect texture. Because she boiled the nuts first, oil roasting allowed a lot more water to convert to steam and escape. The crunch was undeniably delicious.
The other benefit to boiling the nuts was surprising, but equally important. The higher water content meant that Sara could roast the nuts for longer at a higher temperature without risking burning the natural sugars in the nuts. The higher temperature helped develop more of the natural sugars making the treat that much more delicious. Twenty years later, we're using the same techniques. The process takes longer, but the results still speak for themselves. We love the flavor and we love the nuts, but the crunch is one thing that makes Santé Nuts an irresistibly satisfying snack.