DETROIT (WWJ) – Planning your holiday menu? Don’t forget the nuts — and we’re not talking about the in-laws. From stuffing to salads, nuts are one of the easiest ways to add flavor and crunch to your holiday favorites.

Not just for brownies anymore, nuts are so versatile they can make any recipe a hit at the holiday dinner table.

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Here are some tips for cooking with nuts:

1. Bake them in – One of the best ways to cook with nuts is to bake them right into your cakes, breads, muffins, cookies and other holiday favorites. To get the most out of your holiday baking, add toasted nuts to the batter. Toasting the nuts releases their essential oils, making them more fragrant and flavorful, and adding that special crunch to your baked goods.

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2. Top it off – Nuts also make a great topping to holiday dishes. Add a layer of pecans to your sweet potato casserole. Chopped walnuts also make great toppings to frosted cakes. And what would the holidays be without a sweet and delicious pecan pie? Nuts are incredibly versatile and go beyond your holiday dinners. For a festive brunch, top off yogurt or oatmeal with some fresh walnuts.

3. Mix them up – Make your green beans more flavorful and exciting with fresh almonds. Look for flavor combinations that bring out the ingredients in your recipe. Walnuts and cranberries are a classic holiday pair. Mixing cranberries and walnuts into your salad and stuffing is a simple way to add flavor to your classic holiday dishes. To help keep your nuts crunchy and delicious, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place.

4. Keep ‘em fresh – The fresher they are, the better they taste. Keeping nuts in an air tight container not only ensures freshness, but keeps the moisture away. Popular storage methods include putting the sealed container in the pantry or freezer in between uses.

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