Desperate for a pretty, tasty last-minute Christmas gift idea? Or maybe you’re just after something delicious to munch on. Either way, this recipe is for you! It takes mere minutes to make, but the scrumptious flavor will linger in your mouth (and your mind) long after you’ve tasted these gems.
Tips for making the Chocolaty Roasted Almonds
These super-easy treats are literally ready to serve in minutes. The most important thing to remember is not to over-roast the almonds so that they burn. Keep your eye on them and remove them from the oven when they are fragrant. Don’t wait any longer. If you do, they’ll soon start to smell bitter and pungent —and you don’t want that, because you’ll have ruined the batch. You’ll have no choice but to chuck the almonds in the trash, and that would be a tragedy!
I love to use powdered erythritol here for sweetness and texture, since it coats the almonds with a scrumptious layer of crunch. However, if you avoid all sweeteners — or if you plan to give these almonds as gift to a person who doesn’t use sweeteners — you can very well omit the powdered erythritol. But it’s best to avoid trying out other sweeteners. As you’ll see from my experiments, powdered erythritol is pretty much the only sweetener that works well with these treats. Nothing else is likely to work well.
Other than that, these Chocolaty Roasted Almonds are very easy and quick to make, so let’s take a look at how to prepare them:
First, make the chocolaty seasoning:
Take a small cup and add the cacao powder…
…powdered erythritol (if using)…
…vanilla powder (not a must, but it really enhances the overall flavor)…
…and a pinch of unrefined sea salt. The finer the grains the better: this will help the salt stick evenly to the almonds.
Mix well to break up the lumps.
Take the almonds…
…and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Be sure that the almonds are barely touching each other.
Roast the almonds for 5 minutes.
Stir them well.
Continue roasting for another 5 minutes or until fragrant.
Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a heat-proof bowl.
Pour in the chocolaty seasoning mix.
Stir well for at least one minute, so that the almonds are evenly and completely coated with the chocolaty seasoning.
Pour the seasoned almonds back on the baking sheet and spread them out evenly. Let cool completely.
Enjoy these gems yourself…
…or pack them in pretty bags, jars, or canisters and give them as beautiful, delicious gifts!
My Chocolaty Roasted Almonds experiments
I wanted to post one more recipe before Christmas. I was after something easy yet festive, but also something that could be given as a gift.
I took a look at my to-do list and saw an idea for roasted nuts or almonds. Now that would be something! Coated with warm spices, they would be just perfect for the holiday season and when beautifully packed, they would make great gifts as well.
That’s where my idea for this sensational treat started. I was pondering which nuts to use. Which type of nut would both look and taste great when coated with seasoning?
It didn’t take long for me to realize that almonds fit the bill. They’re relatively neutral in taste, so they’d let the seasonings shine. Plus, they’d be nicely crunchy, and they’d look great. Walnuts, for example, taste slightly bitter, and they have those nooks and crannies where the seasoning might “pool”. Best avoided. Almonds felt like the perfect option here.
But what to coat them with? I have this 3-Ingredient 1-Minute Keto Snack with different variations. They’re all great, but I was looking for something a little more, well, seasonal.
Finally I decided to make a chocolaty coating for the almonds. I skipped the melted chocolate because I thought it would just end up making a big mess. Cacao powder might be a better option.
I also wanted to use some sweetener. Powdered erythritol felt like the right choice. Stevia wouldn’t spread evenly on the almonds (as I have only liquid stevia). At this point, I wasn’t thinking of erythritol crystals: I tried that out later.
Cacao powder and sweetener felt a bit too plain, so I decided to add a hint of vanilla in the form of vanilla powder — which is simply ground vanilla bean. I love to use vanilla extract in my treats, but now I wanted to avoid using liquids. The mixture needed to be dry and powdery so that it could coat the almonds evenly.
Since anything involving chocolate cries out for a pinch of salt (for that extra-decadent note!), I also wanted to add a pinch of unrefined sea salt.
So, for my first experiment, I took 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) raw almonds and roasted them for 5 minutes at 350 °F (175 °C). While they were in the oven, I quickly mixed 1 tablespoon raw dark cacao powder, 2 tablespoons powdered erythritol, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder and a pinch of unrefined sea salt in a small cup.
Meanwhile, I stirred the almonds well because I wanted them to roast evenly on all sides. After stirring, I put them back in the oven to roast for another 5 minutes.
After that, I removed the almonds from the oven and poured them into a bowl. I also added the chocolaty seasoning and stirred well, until all the almonds were coated with chocolate.
I poured the chocolate-coated almonds back on the baking sheet to cool down. After cooling completely, they had developed a crunchy surface and they looked, well, “dirty”, but in a good way! I was already planning to call them “dirty almonds” or “muddy almonds”. Or what do you say about this:
When I tasted the almonds, the chocolate flavor was quite weak. So, for my next experiment, I’d need to add more cacao powder and maybe more vanilla as well. But boy was that crunchy surface delicious!
I gathered the ingredients for the next experiment. Again, I had 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) raw almonds. For the seasoning, I took 2 tablespoons cacao powder, 2 tablespoons powdered erythritol, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder and a pinch of unrefined sea salt.
I prepared the almonds in the same way I had in my first experiment. This time I didn’t get that nice, crunchy surface. I realized I hadn’t used enough powdered erythritol. There was only a little left in the bag and I was too lazy to open a new one… so the chickens sort of came home to roost.
Anyway, this is what this experiment looked like:
The taste was now chocolaty enough, but the sweetness was lacking — for obvious reasons.
For my next experiment I wanted to take a slightly different approach. I was dying to try out a Mexican Chocolate Roasted Almonds version with cacao powder, Ceylon cinnamon, and chipotle (and this time, enough sweetener!).
Again, I took 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) raw almonds. For the seasoning, I took 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon, and a pinch of chipotle. As for a sweetener (since I was still too lazy to open that new bag of powdered erythritol), I decided to try erythritol crystals, so I added 2 tablespoons of those to the seasoning mix.
Following the previous procedure, I tossed the roasted almonds with the Mexican chocolate seasoning. No matter how long I stirred, the erythritol crystals didn’t get stuck to the almonds but stayed separate, creating their own thin layer on the baking sheet. Like this:
What a fail!
These experiments were pretty instructive, so my final experiment turned out just right. As the 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) almonds had looked a tad miserable on a large baking sheet, I increased the amount to 2 cups (480 ml).
I also adjusted the amount of seasonings accordingly. And here’s the final recipe:
|Per 1/4 cup (60 ml)
Tips for variations
You can certainly make the Mexican Chocolate variation using powdered erythritol instead of erythritol crystals (that is, if you want to use a sweetener at all).
I know I have many Finnish readers (my blog was the 19th most popular blog in Finland this year!), so this variation is especially for my fellow Finns: Add 1 teaspoon licorice powder or (sugar-free) salmiakki powder to the cacao mixture for finger-licking Chocolate Licorice (or Salmiakki) Roasted Almonds. Oh yes, don’t we Finns love our salmiakki!
But now, I want to wish you all a blissful and merry Xmas to the max! And to those of you who don’t celebrate Xmas, just enjoy the life to the max in the coming days!