Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spicy Cocoa Almonds

We all know it's good to have a handful of almonds each day; before you get that virtuous, try them this way for a little devilishness that'll kickstart your future super-healthy habits. We've been obsessed with dressed-up almonds ever since our sister-in-law Bianca made sugar and spice almonds for everyone as Christmas gifts. Then we remembered a co-worker sharing some cocoa-dusted almonds one day during the 10 o'clock snack break. So many memories…we had to try making some good almonds ourselves! There have been some very annoying trial and error moments along the way, so here's to you learning from our failures! We found out some important stuff while borrowing from the two aforementioned recipes and then making up our own:

- Don't set the oven above 300 degrees. You think you're being so smart and making things quicker, and you end up burning every last almond. (Pathetic. Like throwing away five bucks.)

- The coating can easily be too wet. It seems crazy for a recipe to call for half an egg white, but unless you aim to double it and make 5 cups of almonds, just go with it.

- Toss the almonds for 10 minutes in a skillet heated to medium on the stovetop before  toasting them up in the oven. It's less messy overall.

- Skip the 1/4 cup of light brown sugar listed below and just use honey if that's your preference right now.

- Add a little powdered sugar to the cocoa (much more palatable and less bitter that way).

Spicy Cocoa Almonds

1/2 an egg white
1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups raw almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne (halve or omit, to taste)
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
cracked black pepper (about 5 turns of the mill)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Whisk the egg white fast until it almost comes together like meringue. Add water and whisk again. Stir in the honey, light brown sugar, and mix well. Add the almonds and stir them to coat. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, ancho chili, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper and stir to coat the almonds. Now heat butter in a medium pan on medium heat. When it melts, pour in the almond mixture. Stir constantly and watch over the almonds for 10 minutes or until they are sticking to the spatula and no liquid remains in the skillet. Transfer almonds in a single layer onto a parchment-paper lined, rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven for twenty minutes and them remove them and stir them around. Bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and let them cool on a plate or two. For cocoa almonds (they're less sticky than just leaving them plain), place half the almonds along with the cocoa and powered sugar into a bag or lidded container and shake to coat.


The Yogi Vegetarian said...

That cocoa and spice mix sounds delectable! I have burnt many an expensive organic almond in my time, and would add this tip: when removing from oven, remember they keep on cooking while still hot, so if you don't want them to brown further, remove them from the hot tray and put them on something cool.

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Excellent, TYV -- we put them on plates once they're out & will add that to the steps!