Chai Spiced Almonds
The past two days I've been experimenting with sugared almonds. If you've ever been to New York City (or maybe other cities too, I don't know), you have probably seen or at least smelled the "Nuts4Nuts" carts. They are my favorite snack...ever. Seriously, I love them. I decided I would make my own, since I had no idea if the street cart version is vegan.
The basic recipe is simple:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup almonds
1. Bring everything to boil in a pan.
2. Simmer mixture, stirring periodically with a wooden spoon.
3. When the sugar syrup starts to crystalize, remove from heat, and stir almonds constantly to coat.
4. Because of the nature of the solution, all the sugar will fall out, but not all of it will stick to the almonds. So, you are going to put the pan back on the heat and stir, allowing the sugar that has fallen out to melt and stick to the almonds.
after removing from heat and allowing sugar to settle
5. Remove from heat, separate any large chunks, and allow to cool.
Now, because I am a pain in the ass to myself, instead of just making one big batch, I made a few different versions:
Cinnamon Spice Almonds - before boiling add 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chai Spiced Almonds - before boiling add 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg
Orange Glazed Almonds - use 1/2 cup orange juice, and 3/4 cup water. This didn't necessarily turn out the same as the first two. It looked more like they were covered in caramel. At first I was disappointed, and just put them out on the counter for my family...but then I ate them all. They were actually really good. If you want to try them, I don't have a picture (again, because I ate them all), but the directions were the same...the sugar just never really crystallizes, so once the sugar mixture is really thick, and everything is coated, lay the almonds out on a piece of waxed paper.
If you are slightly masochistic, you may want to know the calorie count for these. You're crazy. Oh wait, that's just me? Fine, whatever. I only have it for the first two, just with the spice addition. 1 cup of almonds yields about 2 1/4 cups of sugared almonds (it is much less for the orange almonds, because not even close to all the sugar sticks, which is why I don't really have a way to figure out the nutrition info for them).
1 serving = 1/4 cup
Nutrition Information: 177.2 Calories; 8.0g Total Fat; 0.6g Saturated Fat; 0.0mg Cholesterol; 25.3g Carbohydrates; 1.9g Fiber; 3.4g Protein
I know that for the most part, I try to make healthy stuff, but its the holidays...and for the most part, I won't be eating it! Plus, at least they have some protein. By the way, my brother prefers these when they're warm and the nuts are still slightly soft. I prefer to let them cool and dry, because then the nuts get crunchy again.
One other little Christmas related (for me) thing. I was Christmas shopping in Express yesterday. It is frustrating to me how much is made of sheep or bunny hair (not to mention that its itchy). But I found myself in Express looking at a shirt that I really liked, but was made of 60% cotton and 40% modal. What the hell is modal? I wanted to know. Immediately (I had a coupon, after all). So I asked the salespeople, and no one knew. So I called my dad. If you ever encounter modal, you should feel pretty safe buying it. It is a plant product, sort of similar to rayon. Whew. I bought two.
Alright well, I'm not done with my Christmas gift making. I doubt I will get to the next part tomorrow, but hopefully on Thursday!!