Sunday, December 13, 2009


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!


Orcsmom said...

Is that what you are bringing to class Monday to share?? I saw Imelda today at the shop, let her know about Feb 6th. It's not in the computer yet, but I know you have 4 people for class already!!


Greenmare said...

OMG! I'm going to try that! I happen to have recipe cards right by my laptop. How organized am I??? (not so much, I cna't find a good place to keep them) anyway, at first glance it looked to me like a bag of potatoes with a christmas greeting on top and I had to read on to figure out HOW DO POTATOES = Christmas??? --- bear with me, been up since 4:30.

Greenmare said...

amounts! amounts baby!! how much oil?
spices??? give!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow you have more patience than me, popping each one of those out of their skins. I think I've seen them already blanched like that at Trader Joe's though? Maybe I'll have to check, if they have them, I might have to try this, sounds yummy.

Quilt Hollow said...

They look so yummy but seems alot of work to blanch. We haven't a Trader Joe's! Boo Hoo!!

La MaƱosa said...

Thanks, Kim! I've always wanted to know how to blanch almonds. I'll have to give this a try.

Louise SS said...

I love those almonds! I found the recipe in one of Marha Stewart's cookbooks years ago (at least 20 years, oboy, I am getting old!)
They are a hit every time I bring them to a party. Sooo good!

julieQ said...

Yum, this sounds so good!! Thank you for sharing.

Lorraine said...

how funny is that....I was trying to remember on the weekend how to blanche almonds for my Christmas cake recipe...I can remember helping Mum years ago but couldn't think of the actual sequence of I bought some...LOL...I should have waited another 24 hours and I could have done my own...I will however try this recipe for gifts for Christmas...! thanks for sharing.....!

Jen in NY said...

Oh, that looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe and great pics! I have that same "Merry Christmas" ribbon from Michael's! :-)

Gran said...


PunkiePie said...

Thanks for the lesson! I make chocolate almond bark that calls for toasted, blanched almonds but I always skipped the blanched part because I was too lazy to look on the internet on how to do it. Now I know!