Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts

Mar 11, 2018

Garam Masala Spiced Almonds

indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,

Garam Masala Spiced Almonds are the perfect healthy snack with a kick. The bold flavors of traditional Indian spices make these nuts addictively delicious!


indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,

Typically when you pay a casual visit to a household in India or Nepal you are served a warm drink, something salty, and something sweet. The drink is usually sweet, milky chai (tea) or sweetened "milk coffee." The salty item can be anything from readymade chaat mixes to potato chips. The sweets are usually biscuits or cake. (I've even been served some unique combinations such as cake and potato chips.) Garam Masala Spiced Almonds are something I started making to serve guests before we could buy readymade chaat mixes (like Haldirams) in packets here in Nepal. It seemed a natural choice as almonds are a favorite treat in my husband's native Kashmir. I'm not sure where I originally found this recipe but I suspect it may have been from the legendary Canadian Chef Vikram Vij.

indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,
Parsi-Style Garam Masala
Over the years I've added and altered the recipe to our tastes. Instead of cayenne, I use Kashmiri mirch for a richer chili kick. Lime juice adds a tart zing in place of the sweeter amchur/mango powder sometimes. Adding asafoetida/hing or garlic powder was entirely my idea to add an umami boost to the mix. You may certainly vary the flavor by using different regional versions of garam masala blends. You'll find recipes for Garam MasalaParsi Garam Masala, Kashmiri Garam Masala, Nepali Garam Masala, and Mughlai Garam Masala on this blog. The oil you choose to make this recipe with can change the flavor a great deal too. Using coconut or sesame oil adds a rich, traditional note while flavorless oils like canola and sunflower oils add none. You can even use raw cashews in this recipe too but be sure to roast them separately from almonds as they cook faster. I hope you'll love this recipe as much as my family does! Off to the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 TBS garam masala
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch or cayenne powder
1 tsp mango powder/amchur or 2 tsp lime/lemon juice
1/4 tsp asafoetida/hing or garlic powder (optional)
 2 TBS vegetable oil of choice oil
 3 C raw almonds or cashews
2-3 tsp salt to taste 

Here's what to do:
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,

2) In a large bowl, combine spices, and oil. Add almonds or cashews and stir until well coated. Pour coated nuts onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly over the pan.

indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,

3) Bake for 6-8 minutes. Stir with a spatula or spoon, return to oven and bake an additional 6 minutes. Be careful not to burn or scorch the nuts- if the almonds start to turn dark brown around the edges they are burnt. Remember that the almonds will continue cooking for a few minutes after you remove them from the oven.
indian, garam masala, almonds, easy, recipe, simple, spicy, roasted, vegan,

4) Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 hour before serving. Store in an air-tight container for up to one month in a cool, dry place.


Helpful Hints: 
If after roasting the nuts are not salted enough for your taste simply sprinkle additional salt and stir them with a spatula or shake them in a jar.

If you are making this recipe with raw cashews be sure to shorten the cooking times by 4-5 minutes.

Jun 1, 2017

Mexican Chocolate Snowballs

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

These Mexican chocolate snowballs are a spicy twist on an old favorite with almonds, chocolate, cinnamon, and a pinch of chili powder. Buttery, delicately spiced, and rich with chocolate flavor this egg free recipe can easily be made vegan too. A simple to make treat to serve on Cinco de Mayo or any holiday! 

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

I love the way the Mexicans spice their chocolate with a little cinnamon and a hint of chili. So when I saw this recipe on Allrecipes a few weeks ago I had to make it. It was absolutely delicious! I did make a few changes though. The original recipe called for ancho chili powder, a little less sugar, and dark chocolate chips. I didn't have ancho chili powder so I used degi mirch or cayenne powder. Ancho chili powder has a bit less heat than cayenne and a slight fruity flavor, but the chili flavor in these cookies is so subtle I didn't find it made a difference. If you can't handle any sort of chili heat I'd substitute paprika for the chili powder or simply leave it out. I bumped the sugar up to the amount I use in all my snowball cookies. Dark chocolate chips were recommended for use in this recipe. Unfortunately, I did not have dark chocolate chips so I used milk chocolate chips. Although these cookies were delicious with the milk chocolate and regular cocoa powder I used, I think using dark chocolate chips and dark cocoa powder would make them even more delicious! I think the next time I make these I'll grind up a dark chocolate bar and use it in place of the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. To make this recipe vegan-friendly just substitute a good quality vegetable margarine or shortening for he butter. Off to the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 C butter, softened (use margarine or vegetable shortening to make these vegan)
3⁄4 C powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp cayenne powder/degi mirch or Kashmiri mirch (for less heat use paprika)
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 C all-purpose flour
2⁄3 C toasted almonds, finely chopped (optional)
1⁄3 cup dark chocolate chips
To roll cookies in after baking: 
1/2C powdered sugar
1 TBS cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Here's what to do:
mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

1) In a large mixing bowl beat together butter,  powdered sugar, vanilla,  cocoa powder,  cinnamon, chili powder, and salt until creamy and well combined.

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

2) Add flour, almonds and chocolate chips to butter mixture. Continue to mix. Dough will be crumbly at first but after about 2 minutes it should pull together and stick to itself. When dough forms a large ball and sticks to itself it's ready. Chill dough covered with cling film in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

3) When ready to bake preheat oven to 325F/165C. Form tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place balls of dough on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Bake cookies for about 18-25 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom being careful not to over bake. Cookies will harden as they cool.
mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

4) In a large shallow bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until combined.

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

5) Cool cookies about 5-7 minutes then roll in sugar mixture while still warm. Cool completely on wire rack then roll cookies in sugar mixture again if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

mexican chocolate snowballs, mexican, chocolate, cookies, vegan, egg free, eggless, cinnamon, chili, almonds, easy, recipe, vegetarian,

Helpful Hints: 
Chilling the dough is important as it allows the flavors of the chocolate and spices to develop as well as making the cookies easier to shape.

Keeping the dough wrapped in in a plastic bag or cling film while chilling prevents it from drying out and absorbing other flavors from the fridge.

Substitute a good quality margarine or vegetable shortening for the butter to make these cookies vegan.

Aug 3, 2016

Tips & Tools: How to Blanch Almonds

almond simple way blanching skinned raw

Blanched almonds are simply raw almonds with their skin removed. The smooth texture of blanched or skinless almonds are often called for in many Mughlai recipes as well as some fancy Indian sweets and desserts. I've never seen pre blanched almonds for sale in India or Nepal so I've learned to prepare them myself. In as little as ten minutes you can easily blanch your own almonds!


Traditionally I've seen almonds soaked for hours in water or overnight to remove their skins in India. Often this results in mushy or slimy almonds. With the simple and quick technique of blanching by immersing in hot then cold water the almonds retain their firm texture. Be sure to use only raw almonds and the freshest you can find. 

Ingredients:
2 C raw almonds
2-3 C water (or just enough water to cover the amount of almonds you wish to blanch)
saucepan
strainer

Here's what to do:
1) Bring a small pot of water to boil and remove from heat. Place raw almonds in heated water and allow to steep for 2 minutes.

2) Drain the hot water from the almonds using a sieve or colander. Rinse the almonds with cool water.


3) The almonds' skins should be loosened and will easily slide off when squeezed. Be careful if you pinch too hard the almond will go flying across the room. This is the most time consuming part of blanching almonds.
The blanched almonds are on the left and their removed velvety russet jackets are on the right.
4) Depending on what you're using the blanched almonds for you may wish to leave them to dry. I usually place them on a baking sheet for a day to dry if need be. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks when dried.


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