Satisfying Snacking: Chai-Spiced Almonds
I love to snack. Happily, recent research seems to back up the notion that 6 “mini-meals” a day are healthier for the digestion and overall body maintenance than 3 larger meals. To me, this means a whole day of delicious snacking. Of course, those mini meals shouldn’t be a sleeve of Thin Mints and a cup of coffee (alas) — they should be a balanced combination of protein, carbs, and unsaturated fats. Nuts (particularly almonds) are a great source of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, protein, and vitamin E… but rah bah bah, enough nutrition-talk. Nuts are delicious, and these chai-spiced, honey-roasted almonds are almost decadent. So, eat them because they taste great, and enjoy feeling virtuous for snacking on the kind of healthful fuel your body needs to run at its best.
about 2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the honey and brown sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the spices and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the almonds, and stir to coat thoroughly.
Pour the almonds out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, and use a fork to tease the nuts apart into a single layer. Bake the nuts in the oven (watching carefully to avoid burning!) for about 15-18 minutes. If you had trouble getting the nuts to lie in a single layer, try separating them again once they have been in the oven for a few minutes, when the honey coating is more liquefied and less sticky.
Leave the nuts on the baking sheet to cool completely. As long as you have roasted the nuts long enough, the honey coating will harden up with no gooey-ness. When the nuts are cool, break them apart and store them in an airtight container at room temperature.