Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almonds Galore

I hope everybody had as wonderful and tasty of a Christmas as I do. Now I'm starting off the year with a pantry filled with lots of tasty chocolates and other treats. Fortunately, thanks to more winter C.S.A. deliveries while I was being spoiled at my mother's house, I found my pantry stuffed with lots of healthy things too, including 2 1/2 lbs of almonds. Yup, 2 1/2 lbs. That's a lot of almonds. So on my day off, and preparing my house for a new year, I'm going almond crazy. My apartment smells incredible with all the toasted nuttiness. Now I've got almond butter and 2 different flavors of roasted almonds to snack on. Feel free to add your own favorite seasonings to the roasted ones.

Almond Butter

2 cups almonds
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Roast for 7 to 10 min, stirring once or twice.
While almonds are still hot, pour into a food processor with the salt & oil. Pulse the almonds in ten second bursts until it starts to smooth out. Then run food processor for 30 seconds or so at a time until you reach the desired texture. This part does take patience. It will look like nothing for a few minutes, then all of a sudden it turns into this gorgeously smooth butter.
Pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Eat on everything you'd eat with peanut butter.
Makes 1 1/2 cups, or 12 2-tbsp servings.

Roasted Almonds

2 cups almonds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix ingredients in a bowl until almonds are thoroughly coated with oil and the seasoning is evenly distributed. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then bake for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.

For seasoning, I used 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning for one batch (Tony Chachere's) and 2 tbsp sugar + 1/2 tbsp cinnamon for a sweeter second batch.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.

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