Holiday Gift from the Hands and Heart
In keeping with last week’s theme of giving handmade gifts from the heart, here is another idea easily made and quickly enjoyed. My seasoned almonds have a sweet, spicy and smoky flavor, with the smoke flavor coming from the chipotle powder. However, don’t be afraid to use your imagination and color outside the lines. Consider the favorite, cinnamon, with some cayenne pepper, or smoked paprika. You might also swap out the turbinado for maple sugar or vanilla sugar. Your options are many. The key to success is to first taste the flavor combination before your commit the blend to the almonds, making any adjustments you like.
1 large egg white
¼ cup fine ground turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dark chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
2 ½ cups almonds (or pecan halves, or assorted nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Beat the egg white until soft and foamy (before “soft peaks). Wisk the remaining ingredients except the nuts into the egg white.
- Add the nuts and stir until well coated then the spread the nuts in a single layer onto an ungreased or parchment paper lined baking pan/sheet.
- Bake 15 minutes then remove from oven.
- Using a metal spatula, toss, stir, and separate nuts.
- Reduce oven to 250 degrees and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss, and stir again. Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any nuts sticking together.
Note: If the nuts are already roasted, simply go into the oven at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Wrap the nuts in little colorful cellophane satchels and tie a bow around them. Most importantly, attach a small note of blessing and thanks for the recipient’s role in your life.
Enjoy your week and take time out to rest and nurture yourself.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all,
Chef David Hall