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Two months ago we visited a friend who had just moved. Before we arrived he told us he wanted to cook for us. When we entered his new kitchen, he was already chopping up some vegetables. While the main dish was in the oven, he gave us some candied almonds. He had made them together with his little son. And while he was at it, he also made some chilli almonds for us. He roasted them in oil and added freshly chopped chilis. They were so delicious and I ate so many, I had a hard time finishing the main dish we were served later that evening.
I wanted to recreate his recipe, but I didn’t have any fresh chilli on hand. Dried chili powder didn’t feel like a good substitute. So I went for smoked almonds made with smoked paprika and liquid smoke instead. I am glad I came up with this recipe as the storebought smoked almonds available here have some shady dairy by-products and flavour enhancers added to their spice mix.
These crispy and spicy almonds make a wonderful gift. Just put them in a nice metal box or wrap them in decorative foil or paper.
Homemade Smoked Almonds
1 tablespoon oil
200 g (7 oz) almonds, with skin
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Heat oil in a pan. Add almonds. Stir until all almonds are covered with oil. Roast over medium heat for five minutes. Set aside. Combine smoked paprika, chilli powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to almonds and stir well. Add liquid smoke, stir again and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
We often make our own nut butters. Almonds are very easily transferred into butter – even if you don’t have a fancy blender or food processor. We often use or mini food processor for this task. Of course this version will not be perfectly smooth, but I like the crunch!
To make smoked almonds butter, place the almonds you just made in a (mini) food processor. Process until finely ground. Then continue until the almond meal turns into a paste. It will probably form a ball. Go on and process some more. Scrape down the sides from time to time. Finally the almonds will release their oil and your paste should turn into butter. Make some pauses to make sure you won’t kill your processor. If you want, you can now add some more smoked paprika, chilli powder and/or liquid smoke and process one last time. Store in the fridge.