Let’s Get Hot and Sweet, and Go Nuts
At our local market, in the produce section, there is a veritable mountain of packages of nuts. It is almost large and tall enough to make you want to don your mountain climbing gear, climb that mini-Everest and repel down a couple times just for fun. If you don’t mountain climb, just pull a few bags at the bottom of the heap and they’ll all come tumbling to you. Either way, it’s a spectacle.
With money being tight in this tight economy, little packages of homemade tasty goodness can go a long way in saving you money, but more importantly, giving someone a gift from your hands and heart says a lot about you and how you feel about them (so don’t burn the nuts). Try my Sweet Spiced Almonds that you can offer to your friends and family this year. Wrapping them in some clear red cellophane with a bow and note attached is a nice package of tastiness. Be sure to take a few minutes to write a little note of kindheartedness. You never know but they might keep the note long after the almonds are gone.
Chef David Hall’s Sweet Spiced Almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
4 cups whole roasted almonds
1/2 cup white sugar or the sugar of your choice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).
2. Lightly grease a sheet pan.
3. Lightly beat the egg white; add water, and beat until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated.
4. Mix the sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Toss to coat, and spread evenly on the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until golden.
6. Allow to cool then store nuts in airtight containers.
Note: If the almonds are raw and you want to roast them, place them on a sheet pan in the oven at 325 degrees F and toast. Stir the almonds once or twice so they brown evenly (about every 5 minutes), until golden brown and fragrant, 20 to 30 minutes, any longer and they will burn.
The holiday season can be a stressful time and potentially a lousy way to end the year if caught up in the horn honking, cart crashing “rush mania.” Slow down. Breathe. Breathe deeply. As silly as it might sound, schedule “time out” on your calendar. Make time to take time out to take care of yourself. Always remember, there are some those who have lost a loved one at this time of the year, have financial difficulties, fragmented families, etc. Lift them up with your powerful loving words, gentle touch and strong hugs. Sneak them a little package of your delicious almonds. You never know but what a small sack of almonds with a little note might do to change their world.
Be well and be blessed,
Chef David Hall
Thyme for a Chef, LLC