Balsamic Glazed Almonds
While taking a break from cleaning my apartment this morning (y’all, things get dirty! especially when you haven’t scrubbed your bathtub in months), I took a break to do my usual recipe browsing. I recently re-discovered The Kitchn, which is an AMAZING website for all things cooking related, and decided to make balsamic glazed almonds on a whim.
A week ago, Drew and I were on a long walk when we began talking about our eating habits lately and decided that we wanted to challenge ourselves to eat only non-processed foods for the next couple of weeks. He’s been eating a vegan diet, but I’ve kept my plain yogurt and eggs. There are a lot of good reasons to eat a diet primarily of whole foods, but the ones I like the most are: 1) I detest all of the additives & chemicals in processed food. 2) I feel like a lot of processed snack foods, even the “healthier” ones that I eat, don’t have as much nutritional value as I would like. 3) I love making my own food. There’s something very fulfilling about it and I like knowing exactly what is in every dish I make.
So far, I’m really enjoying our mini-challenge. That said, I’d be lying if I told you it is easy to make all of your own food. Cooking is extraordinarily time-consuming.
The recipe (found HERE) is simple as can be with only 5 ingredients: almonds, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar (I used a mixture of sucanat & turbinado) salt, and chili powder.
Almonds, balsamic vinegar, and sugar go in a sauce pot on medium heat until all of the liquid is absorbed. The recipe says it will take 5-7 minutes — mine were ready on the shorter side.
Stir in the salt and chili powder, and then pour the almonds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Be forewarned – things get incredibly sticky at this point. Then let them sit until they cool; no oven involved!
Use parchment paper! Really, use it. Wax paper will cause the paper to adhere to the bottoms of the almonds and they’ll be ruined — I was stupid enough to use some (knowing full well that wax paper = parchment paper) because I’m out of parchment paper and had to re-make my batch. If you use just a baking sheet, good luck getting that mess off later! A roll of parchment paper costs $2-$3 at most grocery stores and is definitely worth it because cleaning up after cookie baking, veggie roasting, etc. is as simple as throwing away the parchment paper (and maybe a light rinse off for the baking sheet).
The verdict? Drew and I thought these were tasty but he suggested using roasted almonds next time. I should also add that I probably should have spread them out a lot more because they ended up getting so stuck together that they were almost like a brittle.
Next day note: Once they cooled, I put the almonds in a container and I’m sad to say that they have all joined together into one giant almond lump that is slightly impossible to tear apart. I’m not sure what I would do differently but this recipe seems to be missing something!
Recipe Roundup (or a few yummy things I made this week):
Yogi Trail Mix Bars – Note: I used 1) wheat bran instead of oat bran because I didn’t have any on hand 2) turbinado instead of plain white granulated sugar 3) pecans & almonds instead of sunflower seeds . These were too sweet and sticky for my taste, but Drew thought they were perfect! I would absolutely make them again, especially because no finicky oven was involved, and I’ll just add a little less honey next time.
Yogurt Honey Health Muffins — Note: The only thing I substituted was pecans for sunflower seeds. These were great and I’ll make them again.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito Filling – Note: I didn’t add in the salsa or cocoa powder and used a lemon instead of a lime because that was all I had. Also, if you read the notes on the recipe page, one user says that the recipe makes a lot. I ended up making a half batch and we had plenty leftover. Drew loves to cook big pots of beans and finding new ways to use them is fun. This dish would be great with rice!