"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." Julia Child

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

cinnamon toasted and cocoa dusted almonds

I snack. A lot. This past summer, I made homemade nut butter to spice up my afternoon apple snack. But pre-slicing an apple and carrying along a container of nut butter isn't always feasible. Inspired by Nuts 4 Nuts after a recent trip to the farmers market, I've been snacking my way through these nuggets of cinnamon, sugar, chocolate goodness. And, as a vegetarian, this protein filled snack obsession is head and shoulders above what was an ugly, ugly holiday pecan/peanut/mixed nut brittle overindulgence. Or, at least that's what I'm telling myself. :)

Yield: 7 cups
250 calories per 1/4 cup (cinnamon)
225 calories per 1/4 cup (cocoa)
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes

the cinnamon almonds
4 cups raw almonds
2 whole egg whites (or 6 tablespoons liquid egg whites)
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

the cocoa dusted almonds
3 cups raw almonds
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla (if you want to get fancy, use a vanilla bean)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

the cinnamon almonds 
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until very foamy.

2. Add in the vanilla and whisk until foamy.

3. Add in the sugars, salt, and cinnamon, whisking until well combined.

4. Add in the almonds, stirring well to coat.

5. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees until very crisp, about 45-50 minutes. You'll want to stir the almonds halfway through to spread around the cinnamon mixture and encourage, for lack of a better word, clumping.

 6. Place the parchment paper on a wire rack to cool.

the cocoa dusted almonds
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the agave nectar, vanilla, and sugar. Warm on very low heat.

2. While the mixture is warming, combine the cocoa powder and sea salt in a gallon Ziplock bag.

3. Stir the agave mixture to ensure the ingredients are well mixed and pour in the almonds.

4. Warm the almonds, stirring frequently to coat, for about 3-5 minutes. You'll notice a "hissing" noise as air and fat escape the almond skin.

5. Pour the almonds into your prepared Ziplock bag, seal, and shake well to coat.  (I totally had a muddy buddies flashback.)

6. Pour the almonds out onto a wire rack that's been covered with parchment paper to cool.

Original recipes found here and here.

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