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Monday, February 27, 2017

Recipe: Chopped Roasted Almonds

Perfectly Crispy Roasted Almonds



This recipe is for plain (unsalted) roasted almonds. I pulse mine in a food blender to break them down into smaller pieces. This does two things, it reduces the baking time, and it makes this the perfect topping to spoon over things like ice cream or yogurt. Nothing against whole roasted almonds, I just like mine a little more crumbly. 

Roasted almonds are great to have on hand for adding crunch to a variety of different foods. One bonus about roasting them, is it removes some of the phytic acid. A lot of people are sensitive to raw almonds (translation; raw almonds make them toot alot) but sometimes, that digestive upset goes away when the almonds have been roasted. You can add these to homemade trail mix, cookies, or granola (recipe). My favorite way to eat these almonds is by the handful, straight out of the jar. But most often I enjoy them sprinkled on top of sliced fruit, or mixed into oatmeal. They make an easy snack for school or work, put in a container with pretzels and dried fruit. 

The baking time will vary, and it can take up to 2-3.5 hours for chopped almonds, so do this project when you plan on being home for while. The nice part is the oven does most of the work! (Whole almonds will take longer)

You will need:
1 cup of raw almonds
Water
Strainer
Food Processor or Blender

Directions:



1. The night before you plan to make these, soak 1 cup of whole, raw almonds for 12-24 hours. Put the almonds in a jar or a container big enough to hold them, covered in water by about 2 inches, plus 2-3 inches of headspace to allow for expansion.


1 c dry, covered in water
After soaking and expanding for about 18 hours
2. After the almonds have soaked for a day or so, strain the soaking water and rinse. 


After rinsing
3. This step is optional, but if you want to greatly reduce the baking time, pulse the almonds in a food processor a few times to break them down into smaller pieces. The size of the pieces will dictate how long you bake them for. Smaller pieces will bake more quickly. So take that into consideration if you're pressed for time.


Mine usually look like this after chopping



4. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F 

5. Spread the almonds out on a cookie sheet, or a preheated cast iron pan. (Don't grease the pan) Bake them in the oven at 250° for approximately 2 hours on a baking sheet, or 3 hours in a cast iron pan, stirring every 20-25 minutes. The cook time will vary depending on a few things; how long the almonds soaked for, how fresh they were prior to soaking, and whether or not they are whole or chopped. Check them every 20 minutes or so and stir/shake them around each time. If they are on a cookie sheet you may notice hot spots where they begin to brown faster in certain areas. I use a cast iron skillet to avoid this because my oven heats around the edges much faster than in the center. This will not be a problem as long as you make sure to stir them around and shake the pan regularly. Move any almonds that are browning too quickly to a cooler spot on the pan. Once you notice them beginning to brown a bit, start taste testing a few pieces each time you check on them. If they are crunchy on the outside but still soft or chewy in the middle, let them go longer. Once they are nice and crispy, making a nice "crunch" sound, remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet. After they have cooled, store in an airtight jar or container at room temperature for 5-7 days.


In cast iron pan before baking

After about 3 hours, brown and crispy

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