Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Today’s recipe is inspired by Costco. Costco is one of my favorite stores to peruse because they have awesome stuff in all categories from housewares to clothing to food. The samples are also a pretty fantastic perk, although M and I don’t often go to Costco during sample time so we can avoid the crowds. A few weeks ago I made a quick stop in the afternoon to pick up one of the fake orchids they have (which I’m still psyched about) and made the sample rounds while I was there. One of the things I came across was roasted cinnamon sugar almonds.

Normally I’m not a big nut person (the notable exception being almond roca) but I thought I’d give these a try on a whim, and holy crap they are amazing. To be fair, I’m pretty sure they are like 75% sugar so basically it’s cinnamon almond candy, but nonetheless they were fantastic. It gave me the idea to make my own, less candy-like version at home.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds {{Baking Bytes}}

Doing my usual Pinterest perusal came up with mostly very similar recipes, which I modified to fit my own needs. I wasn’t really looking for a sugary snack this time around, but if you’re wanting a sweeter recipe, like for holiday gifts, I give a range of sugar amounts in my notes below the recipe.

Crunchy roasted almonds coated with cinnamon and sugar are a high-protein and tasty option for any time of day. Make them without sugar for a healthy snack, or add the sugar for a sweet treat. I personally like both options, although the latter is probably more of a crowd pleaser. (They also turn out shinier, and ergo prettier, like the ones pictured.)

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds {{Baking Bytes}}

They do take a while to bake, but the process is pretty low maintenance and makes your house smell lovely. You could also definitely make two batches at a time if you have two lipped cookie sheets – the almonds will keep for at least a couple of weeks.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Adapted from the Internet
Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp cinnamon
up to 1/2 cup brown sugar, to taste

4 cups raw almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an edged baking sheet with a silicon mat (or parchment paper) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except almonds.
  3. Add almonds, and stir until they are well coated with the cinnamon mixture.
  4. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet. It’s okay if they touch but you don’t want a pile.
  5. Bake for 60-90 minutes, stirring them once or twice. I like mine more roasted so I went closer to 90 minutes, but they are great after an hour also. Give one a taste (carefully) and see what you think.
  6. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Notes

Using no sugar is still delicious and a healthier treat, or 1/4 cup gives a relatively mild sweet flavor. If you’re looking for something really sugary (more along the lines of Costco’s version), add up to 1/2 cup of sugar, feeling free to use up to half white sugar if you prefer.

Almond Roca

Happy holidays from Australia! I am busy enjoying sun, sand, and surf before I head back to winter for ski season. More updates when I get back. =) But even though though I’m on the opposite side of the world, I made sure to schedule this recipe to share with all of you. This is something my family (and many family friends) make for Christmas every year and I definitely wanted to share it. Although my family has reduced how much we make each year, we still make several batches to share and keep in the freezer. It is a Top Secret recipe that my mom shares with everyone.

Almonda Roca {Baking Bytes}

If you’ve never had homemade almond roca, you are seriously missing out. I encourage you to make some, pronto. I actually don’t like almonds that much and I can’t get enough of it. Sweet and crunchy, it is delightful straight out of the freezer, or at room temp (if you can wait that long.) It makes a beautiful “appetizer” to have out for parties and a fabulous gift. As a kid I always gave some to my teachers, and had several that said the bag never even made it home.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Although it’s a little time-consuming, and kind of messy, it’s an easy gift for teachers, neighbors, extended family, or just to have on hand in case you forgot someone. Even better, it keeps well in the freezer for a few months so you (or the recipient) can set it aside if there’s a sugar overload or more time-sensitive items to be eaten. Fair warning though, as easy as it is, it’s a bit easy to screw up too; make sure you read the notes at the bottom to help you be successful.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Buttery toffee, crunchy almonds, and sweet chocolate melt in your mouth in perfect harmony.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

I dare you to eat just one.

Almond RocaAlmond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Makes 1 cookie sheet

Ingredients

2 cups almonds

1 pound good quality salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 T. water

1 (10 oz) package chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Coarsely chop 1 cup of the almonds; set aside.
  2. Finely chop the remaining cup of almonds; set aside.
  3. Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and lightly oil with vegetable or canola oil.
  4. In a small-medium, heavy, saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugar and water.
  5. Heat candy to 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring often. It will look kind of marshmallowy. (That’s definitely a technical term.)
  6. Add in the cup of coarsely chopped almonds, and heat to 300 degrees, stirring constantly. (It should be very pale brown and thick but also oily looking.)
  7. Pour immediately onto prepared cookie sheet and spread out as thinly as possible without creating holes.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for one minute and stir. Repeat until chocolate is completely melted and stir until smooth.
  9. Thinly spread candy with chocolate and sprinkle with about half of the finely chopped nuts.
  10. Transfer entire cookie sheet to freezer for 45 minutes, or until candy is hard.
  11. Remove cookie sheet from freezer, flip over the candy (don’t worry about breaking it), and let it warm up for about 15 minutes.
  12. Melt the remaining chocolate, and repeat the coating on the back. It is easiest to do this is small sections as the chocolate hardens quickly.
  13. Return the cookie sheet to the freezer until chocolate is firm, break the candy into bite-sized pieces and store in resealable bags, or put some in a cellophane candy bag and pass out to adoring fans.

Almond Roca >> Baking Bytes

Notes

1 You must use good quality butter like Tillamook or Darigold; store brands produce inconsistent results and might fail completely. And make sure it’s salted butter!
2 My mom uses a large pullout cutting board. I like to use a lipped cookie sheet because it keeps it a little more contained. Just make sure you use something firm, mobile, and that will fit in your freezer (or outside, if it’s cold enough.) It’s also a good idea to lay down newspaper and/or a silicon trivet to protect your counter from the hot candy (and excess oil runoff if you’re not using something with a rim.)
3 It is best to use a long-handled wooden spoon for stirring, as it doesn’t get hot or damage the pan during your million hours (30 minutes) of stirring.
4 Make sure your candy thermometer gets deep into the mixture; if you use too large a pan you are likely to burn the candy because the thermometer isn’t registering the correct temperature. My best luck has been with a heavy 3-qt saucepan.
5 I buy chocolate chips from Costco so I never actually measure how much I use, but I melt about a cup at a time. I like to spread it quite thin, but that’s definitely up to you. I always use semi-sweet (because I buy in bulk) but dark chocolate would be delicious too if you prefer.
6 Even if you’re making a lot of batches, don’t try to cook more than one at a time; it doesn’t seem to go very well. You’ll be much more successful using an assembly line, ideally with extra hands. Pour some eggnog and make it a family or friend activity.
7 If you can’t make it work, comment here or email me and I’ll do my best to help you get it right next time. =)