I’ve solved half my almond problem.
I know it doesn’t seem like a problem, having the most incredible almond vendor at the farmers market I go to every week. Rodin Farms sells the most killer almonds – some savory, some sweet, all super fresh and super crisp – and though they’re there year round, and though I love supporting local food producers, my control streak rejects being dependent on Rodin for what seems like a fix I should be able to produce on my own.
The drought has raised almond prices, as almonds are a thirsty crop, and this fall Rodin jumped prices from $6 for each 10-ounce tub (discounted 4 for $20) to $7 each (discounted 3 for $20). The math major in me wants to tell them that it makes no sense to increase prices by 17% for single purchases and 33% for quantity purchases.
But instead I’m trying to make some on my own. California is almond central – 82% of the world’s almonds are grown here – so finding high quality raw almonds is not a problem.
My savory crave is Rodin’s spicy-tart chile con limon – tongue tingling, with an addictive tang. They blow away any others I’ve tried (the ones at Trader Joe’s don’t compare). But I’ve repeatedly failed to replicate that thin, spicy-salty-sour coating at home.
Honey roasted nuts range from dark and glazed, like the ones in the bottom left below, to Rodin’s lightly dusted version in the upper left. The lightest I could get was the lower right, which is less uniform than the original but spot on for taste.
I haven’t tried superfine sugar – can’t decide if it will coat more evenly or simply get absorbed – but let me know if you do.
Roast the nuts first with short sunbathe in a warm oven. I fit a single batch in my toaster oven, which is efficient.
On the stovetop, heat a bit of honey and water with a drop of oil.
Add toasted almonds and stir until all the liquid is absorbed.
Scoop out the sticky nuts into a bowl.
And add sugar with a bit of salt.
Mix quickly while it’s warm.
And separate out on parchment or waxed paper. The nuts get crunchier as they cool.
Make a double batch to have on hand for a holiday gathering, or pack some up to bring as a host gift. You could also give a jar to a friend at work – or yourself! – as a cheery boost to help make it through the busy final days of the year.
(And I haven’t given up on the chile con limon. I think citric acid instead of real citrus is part of the trick. Will let you know if I crack it – let me know if you have any tips!)
Snowy Honey Roasted Almonds
Dusted with an irresistible mix of fine sugar and salt, the honey roasted almonds from Rodin Farms are the kettle corn of nuts. The homemade version isn’t as perfect as Rodin’s, but the snowy sugar coating has a charming holiday appeal.
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3-1/2 teaspoon salt (less if table salt or sea salt, more if kosher salt)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a cold oven.
- Turn oven on to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake until fragrant, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Mix sugar and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Lay out a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
- Stir honey, water and oil in a saucepan on medium heat. When it boils, add almonds. Stir until liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off as it gets close so you don’t burn the honey; the almonds have enough heat to continue cooking.
- Pour almonds out into a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Stir to coat evenly. Spread out almonds on parchment/waxed paper. The nuts will get crisper as they cool. When fully cooled, store almonds at room temperature in an airtight container.
- Nuts freeze very well, so you can also make a double batch and store some in the freezer for freshness.
- If you prefer a darker, glazed look for your honey roasted almond (without the sugar-dusted effect), use 3 tablespoons of honey and water. You’ll need to cook a bit longer for the almonds to absorb the liquid (about 5 minutes). When you mix with the sugar-salt, the granules will simply absorb into the almond coating.
Here’s the link to a printable version.