The best part about toasted almonds is that they're super easy to make, and need neither a lot of skill nor fancy equipment. Toasting almonds intensifies the flavor, adding a nuttier edge to the otherwise fairly mild taste, plus, it changes the texture, by adding a crunchiness that takes it to a whole new level. The following are some simple step-by-step instructions on how to toast almonds, depending on the equipment at your disposal.
The best way to toast almonds is to bake them in an oven, since the heat is evenly distributed, and can be controlled to ensure that they are toasted all over. This is also the simplest way to do so, since all you need is a baking sheet and an oven.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 2)
- Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet, making sure that they're evenly distributed and in a single layer.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, shaking the pan intermittently to ensure even browning.
- Remove from the oven, cool, and use as required.
The principle is the same whether you want to toast almonds in a toaster oven or on the stove―the idea is to ensure the heat is evenly distributed, and the almonds are uniformly browned. In order to toast them on a stove, place them in an un-greased skillet or heavy based saucepan, and toast over medium heat, shaking occasionally. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container. While some people prefer to toast almonds with their skins on, others prefer blanched almonds―this is done by placing them in a bowl and then pouring over boiling water.
Left for about ten minutes, their skins will peel off easily. You could also cut them into slivers before toasting―one cup of whole almonds equals approximately three cups of slivers. Another option is to toast them in the microwave. Place on a microwave-proof platter, and microwave on high, for about 4 minutes, giving the plate a shake every minute. However, since wattage and power differs for different models―you'll need to adjust the timing accordingly.
Almonds are packed with nutrition. Their health benefits include being high in vitamin E, with the added goodness of iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and fiber, while still being relatively low in cholesterol. In addition, they are a good source of monounsaturated fats, as well as calcium―this makes them suitable calcium sources for vegans, or those who are lactose intolerant. Almonds are also great for the complexion, while being beneficial for the nails and hair as well.
Toast almonds with paprika and olive oil for some spice, or sweeten as a snack by roasting them with a little honey. They are a versatile ingredient―add them to your breakfast cereal, toss flakes onto a dessert, or have them on their own as a power-packed energy snack. Not only do they boast of significant nutritional benefits, they have the added advantage of being great in taste―and how many foods that are good for you can claim that? Whether you want them toasted, blanched, spiced or slivered, add some almonds to your diet, and reap the myriad rewards.