Friday, May 7, 2010

Smoking Almonds

Smoked Almonds

Ahh, smoked almonds. We both have childhood memories of them being around occasionally - usually during the holidays. We got them in small containers and they felt like a precious, rationed commodity.

For some time now, we've been lucky enough to be able to purchase fresh almonds straight from a local grower, Hopkins AG, at our farmer's market.

Darrin at the PB Farmer's Market

I don't know why it didn't occur to us earlier that we should try smoking some. A few weeks ago we gave it a go, and they are were fantastic!

Our almond vendor sells both raw and roasted - for this purpose I chose shelled, raw nuts. To help the salt stick to the nuts, we considered olive oil, melted butter, or even water. We went the savory flavor route and chose butter.

Smoked Almonds

After grinding some salt into a fine powder using a spice grinder, I mixed it liberally into the nuts while the butter was still warm.

Then I carefully spread the nuts evenly on a pizza grate and got them on the smoker.

Smoked Almonds

Because the almonds sit on the top grate, you have room to smoke something else at the same time (in this case we had some homemade bratwurst hanging underneath, but that's another post altogether...)

They were smoked with hickory and alder for about 2 hours (an hour at 180°F for the sausages, then a second hour at 220°F to crisp up the almonds).

Smoked Almonds

They turned out great - salty, crunchy, savory and completely addictive. A perfect accompaniment to a nice, stiff gin and tonic on a warm spring evening.

Smoked Almonds

2 cups raw almonds
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 teaspoons kosher salt
wood for smoking, such as hickory and alder

Grind the salt into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Put the almonds into a large bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Let sit 5 minutes to set slightly. Add the 2nd tablespoon of butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of powdered salt, 1 teaspoon at a time, until evenly coated.

Spread the almonds onto a pizza grate or other screen set on the smoker rack. Smoke for about 1 hour at 150°F to 180°F and 1 hour at 200°F to 230°F. Be careful to keep the heat below 250°F to avoid burning.

Let the almonds cool to room temperature, then store them a tightly sealed jar for 2 days before eating (if you can manage to resist them!).

14 comments:

  1. These are dangerously tasty...I could eat bowls & bowls! Have you tried egg whites as the "glue"?

    That worked pretty good.

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  2. What a clever idea to use the pizza pan! You always come up with such wonderful ideas. I like the butter route. I mean, it's butter, how can that be wrong, right? :)

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  3. This looks tasty, gonna have to try it.

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  4. Peter - Nope, I hadn't thought of using egg whites, but that sounds like a great alternative if you don't want to add extra fat. But a little butter can be good thing... :-)

    Carol - Thanks! I've had that pizza grate hanging around forever, but had never used it. Happily, it finally found a purpose in life.

    Bbq Dude - I'm surprised you haven't done smoked almonds before! Definitely give it a go, but I'd suggest doing a double batch. Like Peter said, it's easy to eat bowls and bowls of them.

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  5. I'm going insane because I'm on a biz trip and can't make these right now.

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  6. Dave - definitely make some. Be careful of your time and temperature, though - we burned our second batch :-(

    They taste pretty good even burned, though...

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  7. yum... we smoked 2 batches in the cookshack, used the "splatter guards", one batch with oil & bbq rub, one with sriracha - wow...

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  8. Hi Erika - I like the idea of using sriracha. Having some heat would definitely be a nice variation.

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  9. Hi butchersapprentice. Glad you liked them - we need to make another batch!

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  10. These were a complete hit with family & friends during the mid-winter festivities --thanks for the inspiration!

    One thing I did with some of these salty smokey nuts was to dip them in dark tempered chocolate, and then roll them in unsweetened cocoa powder. I gave little bags of these away too. They are insanely delicious sweet-savory treats :-)

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  11. Hi Mosaica - I bet they would be great in chocolate. The sweetness works really well with the nuts in our Smoked Almond Brittle.

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  12. We made these last night on our smoker while we were cooking beef ribs. Thank goodness I had a coffee grinder to make the dust. They are AWESOME. Thanks so much.

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  13. I just read this again. I have friends who are going to smoke some pork belly on my smoker and I decided to toss in some almonds in all the empty spaces, thanks!

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    1. Ok, now you've got me craving smoked almonds. We need to make some...

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