I have to find clever ways to NOT buy a bag of potato chips at the grocery store. By ‘clever’ I mean I just don’t go down the chip aisle. It’s my danger zone. I know that if I do, I’ll likely eat potato chips for lunch and dinner that day, and repeat that same process for probably three days straight.
I like salt and crunch. I really like potato chips. More than most. More than many.
I have to find creative ways to satiate my salt-tooth (like a sweet-tooth but different), and that means making my own gobble-able snack.
These salty tamari and maple roasted almonds are all the spicy, salt, sweet, and crunch I need. They’re not potato chips but… well, not even close but dang good, healthy and satisfying.
Did I mention that I really like potato chips? Just checking…
Simple things to start. Raw almonds, tamari which is a gluten-free soy sauce, pure maple syrup (the good stuff is preferred), and a good squeeze of sriracha pepper sauce for spice.
Salt and pepper, too. Always with those.
The tamari, maple, sriracha, and a dash of salt and pepper are stirred together in a small bowl. I also added a splash of olive oil because a little extra good fat never hurt anyone (probably not true, but still).
The almonds are roasted in the oven dry… just the almonds and the pan. This will help ensure that they’re crunchy and full of intense almond flavor when they come out of the oven the second time. Building layers of flavor like it’s our job.
Warm roasted almonds are stirred and covered in the sweet and spicy tamari sauce.
Double roasted, extra salty from tamari and sea salt, and extra spicy from sriracha and black pepper. Sweet, too… because I like a little sweet with my salt.
All of these flavorful nuts to cool before eating for maximum crunch and minimum mouth burns. These are things I learned the hard way.
- 1 pound raw almonds
- 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- sea salt to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Linea rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almonds in an even layer across the sheet.
- Roast almonds for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.
- While the almonds roast, in a small bowl whisk together tamari, maple syrup, olive oil, and sriracha.
- Remove the toasted almonds from the oven and pour the tamari mixture over the warm almonds. Toss until all of the almonds are lightly coated in tamari. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and return to the oven to roast for another 12 to 15 minutes, tossing once during baking.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and allow to cool before serving.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Here’s a fun thing to do! Take a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine yourself as an old person. I’m not talking about late sixties. That’s not old yet. I’m talking about great great grandmother old.. pushing the mid-nineties.
Sounds crazy? Why would you spend time picturing white hair in bobby pins, shuffling feet and rocking chairs? I feel like getting old is a luxury. Not everyone gets to do it, so why not sit and enjoy the thought a bit?
I imagine that I’m the kind of old lady that talks to her over fed cats, and yells across the house to her practically deaf husband. I hope I’m the kind of old lady who has a piano in the house just so my grandchildren can come over and practice their scales while I shuffle around the kitchen baking them cookies.
I want to be the kind of old lady that always thinks a glass of champagne is a good idea.
I want to be the kind of old lady who always has something out on the living room table for that unexpected guest. Maybe it’s those soft chalky mints. Maybe a freshly baked pie. Maybe it’s these Sweet and Spicy Baked Almonds. These nuts, my friends, have me daydreaming of old lady times somehow… with a smile on my face.
So, you might be thinking… really Joy? Nuts? That’s all you’ve got for me today? My answer to that… yes. Nuts. Live a little.
These nuts are simply almonds sprinkled in magic, aka fennel seeds. They’re sweet. They’re spicy. They’re salty and crunchy. They make a super yumtastic snack to have around the house, a snazzy hostess gift, or they’re great to bring to a cocktail party. All around winners, that’s what these almonds are.
Sweet and Spicy Baked Almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups raw almonds
2 Tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix sugar, fennel, salt and pepper flakes in a medium sized bowl. Add the almonds and water and stir until coated. Pour onto the foil lined baking sheet and spread out evenly.
Bake the almonds for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir almonds around. Return to the oven and bake for another 17 minutes, checking and stirring the almonds 2 to 3 more times. Almonds will turn beautifully dark brown. Remove from the oven and separate with a fork. Cool and remove from the pan to a serving bowl or an airtight container for storage.
I made us breakfast.
There’s not an ounce of butter in it. Clearly I’m not feeling myself.
Grains and applesauce and fruit and nuts. Delicious. Wholesome. True.
We’ll eat it and feel utterly contented. Then we’ll have butter for lunch. Let’s be real.
My new friend Natalie came to my house for wine and cobbler. No biggie.
Among the many side-splitting words that came out of her mouth that evening were “breakfast” and “quinoa”. Yes. Perfect.
That Natalie mixes applesauce into her breakfast quinoa is only further evidence that she is rad, and I have excellent taste in new friends.
Don’t you love quinoa? Quinoa is a grain a seed full of magic. It’s a complete protein… and it’s a plant! Quinoa is full of amino acids and proteins… the sorts of things that our bodies love. For breakfast with nuts and fruit? Amazing. So healthy.
Look at us putting our healthy pants on. Just supreme.
Consider this post as more of a suggestion.
Sure, there’s a recipe to follow, but you can load this quinoa up with any fruit, nut, or milk you like.
It’s your breakfast… I certainly don’t mean to impose.
Breakfast Quinoa with toasted coconut, almonds and fresh mango
Thanks, Natalie. You’re a gemstone.
Makes enough for 2 breakfasts
1 cup red or yellow quinoa (or a mix!)
2 cups water
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
4 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 to 1 cup fresh mango chunks
milk to taste
brown sugar to taste
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread coconut in a single layer across the sheet. Toast the coconut. Keep a close eye on the coconut, it could burn quickly. Coconut will be browned and fragrant after about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a small bowl. Place almonds on the baking sheet. Toast almonds for about 6 to 10 minutes, until browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in a small bowl.
Rinse dry quinoa. Place quinoa, salt, and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer the quinoa until all of the water is absorbed. Stir occasionally. Turn off the flame and allow quinoa to cool slightly.
In a bowl, combine a heaping spoonful of quinoa, applesauce, a sprinkling of almonds and coconut, a generous helping of fresh mango, a sprinkling of sugar and a splash of milk. Enjoy. It’s breakfast.
I’m in need of some greens. The gnarly kind. The kind that bite back.
Clearly kale is the answer. It’s clean and crunchy and that’s where we’re starting for today.
The very back of the pantry is like a treasure trove of forgotten bottles and spices. I dug out my neglected bottle of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar for this clean and crunchy salad. They’re just the right ingredients to tame the taste and texture of raw kale.
Fresh ginger is grated and whisked together with minced garlic, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. A little honey to balance the spicy-ness of ginger, too! Salt and pepper, of course. Making fresh salad dressing is just that easy.
Before tossing the dressing onto the kale, I massaged the kale with a bit of olive oil. This helps soften the fibrous leaves further.
Chopped roasted almonds and sesame seeds for crunch and this salad is a go! It’s simple, satisfying, and totally green! What a way to make a pound of kale go down easy.
Sesame Kale Salad with Roasted Almonds
makes 4 small servings
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 pound kale, cleaned, stems removed, and coarsely choppd
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 small clove of garlic, minced
scant 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
scant 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until just fragrant. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage the oil into the kale and set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl whisk together the grated ginger, minced garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey until emulsified. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and taste. Season as needed. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss. Top with toasted sesame seeds and chopped almonds and toss once again. Serve immediately.
It’s strange finding almonds in the laundry.
What I should say is that it’s strange that I would put almonds in my pocket, carry them around in my pocket all day, disregard my pants (most likely on the floor of my closet), finally wash the pants and find almonds in the washing machine. That’s just an odd thing to have happen.
Instead of washing almonds, I’d recommend roasting them with honey and chai spices. Be smarter than me.
Oh, also… you know what I’m not going to do today? I’m not going to hmm and haa over a bunch of pictures of nuts and honey and ground spices. Welcome to Just Do The Dang Thing Monday.
Love you, byeeeee!
Honey Chai Almonds
makes 3 cups
adapted from Weelicious Lunches
3 cups raw almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (depending on how spicy you like your nuts)
3 tablespoons honey
coarse sea salt for topping
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with olive oil or cooking spray.
Place almonds on baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
While the almonds are in the oven, in a small bowl, toss together cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Remove the toasted almonds from the oven. Drizzle with honey and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss well to ensure that all of the almonds have a bit of spice. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. And heck.. drizzle with a bit more honey if you’d like.
Return to the oven and toast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately trasnsfer the warm nuts to a plate to cool or jars for storage. The nuts will begin to harden as they cool and become difficult to remove.
Store almonds in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
I found this recipe in this month’s issue of Food and Wine magazine. It was one of those Jerry Maguire moments. I’ve had these before. You know… ‘you had me at hello’. It’s ok. I can still say that. I grew up in the 90’s sooooo, just let it happen.
These blondies are studded with dark chocolate and Marcona Almonds. Marcona almonds come from Spain and are slightly lighter and more creamy than the California variety. You can usually find them roasted in olive oil and tossed with sea salt which makes then extra snackable. I love them on top of these brownies because the saltiness balances the sweet of the brownies and the extra roasting makes the almonds dreamy.
Brown sugar is the base to Blonde Brownies.
Is ‘Blonde Brownie’ an oxymoron?
Brown sugar and butter also happen to be the base ingredients of chocolate chip cookies. Consider the two to be really delicious cousins.
Blondies are one of those things that everyone should make because they come together easily and they taste like chocolate chip cookies. How much more coaxing do you need?
These almond blondies are extra unique because they contain whole nuts as well as almond butter and a touch of cinnamon. Layers of flavor. That’s all.
Butter is melted until just about browned and whisked together with an ample amount of brown sugar, some egg business, and vanilla extract.
See? That’s nice.
Some dry ingredients. Blondies are so thick and chewy because of the ratio of wet ingredients to dry. Less flour, more butter, eggs, and sugar. Nothing but trouble, really.
Marcona almonds and chocolate chips are folded into the thick batter. I could just stop here and grab a spoon (for straight eating).
The blondies are also topped with almonds and chocolate before baking. It’s good news.
Sweet and chewy with a very clever hint of cinnamon. Melty chocolate and crunchy roasted almonds. These are the best blondies I’ve ever made. If I were you I’d eat all the crunchy chewy edges before anyone else gets to them. Selfish or smart? You be the judge.
Blonde Brownies with Chocolate Chips and Marcona Almonds
recipe from Food and Wine Magazine February 2014
1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg large yolk
1/4 cup almond butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup marcona almonds
1 cup chocolate chips
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan, line the pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper as well. This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan.
In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the melted butter to a large bowl. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before proceeding.
To the large bowl with the butter, add the sugar, eggs and yolk, almond butter, vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk until smooth and well combined. Add the flour and baking powder and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be thick.
Fold in three-quarters of the almonds and three-quarters of the chocolate chips. Fold until combined. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Top with the remaining almonds and chocolate. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. Insert a skewer in the center of the blondies to test the doneness. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before lifting from the pan and slicing.
Slice into 9 equal squares.
Blondies can be wrapped individually and frozen or stored at room temperature for 4 days.