Would you like a little cooking lesson and a good recipe for a yummy, nutty snack (or a great Christmas gift)? If so, read on. If not--well, what can I say? Bummer! So sad for you!
First, do you know how to blanche almonds? I've been doing this since I was a kid and my mom taught me, but I really never see any instructions on how to do it--and it's really easy! So I thought I'd show you this first--you can use blanched almonds for any number of recipes. First you'll need some almonds and water in a pot large enough to hold the almonds.
First, bring the water to a boil. Then turn off the heat and dump the almonds into the water. Stir them around and then let them sit for a bit--maybe around three to five minutes. You'll notice that the skins will loosen--when that happens, they're done.
Dump them into a strainer of some sort and run some cold water over the almonds. Let them drain and cool.
After they've cooled, sit down with your pot of almonds. You'll also need a bowl for the naked almonds and something else to discard the skins into. Holding an almond between forefinger and thumb, squeeze/pop the almond out of the skin. Watch out for flying almonds! They're slippery little things!
Naked almond porn.
Now you'll want to spread the almonds onto cookie sheets (jelly roll pan)--spread them out so you only have one layer. Turn the oven on low--200 degrees at most--and put the sheets into the oven to dry the almonds, turning and stirring them every so often. It should take about an hour or so. Once the almonds are dry, they're ready for your favorite almond recipe!
I searched the internet for a good recipe for sweet and spicy almonds and I found THIS ONE. Add the oil to a heavy pan and heat on medium high. Add the almonds and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir frequently until almonds are brown and sugar has carmelized.
Pour almonds into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, sugar, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Stir every few minutes to keep almonds from sticking together until they've cooled a bit.
I used those two bags of almonds from Trader Joe's, which were probably a pound each (although I didn't check). I ended up with about 5 cups of nuts. Seriously, I think I need to go back to Trader Joe's and get a couple more bags! Enjoy!