Saturday, January 14, 2012
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I have one last almond confection to share with you. I'm nearing the end of the over-sized bag of almonds I purchased at a local warehouse store, and while I've gone a bit overboard with this recipe, I keep telling myself that it's O.K. because almonds are a superfood. Due to their health properties, they have become very popular, and, as long as you don't eat too many of them, they are actually good for you. They are high in protein and they are very filling. While they are high in fat, it is a healthy monounsaturated fat that has been proven to help stave off heart disease and diabetes. They are also high in antioxidants, especially if you leave their skins on. That's the good news. The bad news is I've covered them in sugar, chocolate and cocoa to make them more festive for Valentine's Day. That probably mitigates all the good stuff I've just walked you through. Almonds prepared in this way are delicious, but they are not easy or fuss free to make. This is a three step process, so you'll need time to make and clean up after them. You will, however, be really pleased with the end result. This is a delicious confection whose parentage is questionable. Greeks and Italians both claim bragging rights. Whatever their origin, I think you'll love this Mediterranean treat. Here's the recipe.
Chocolate-Covered Almonds...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of D. Schubring via the Chicago Sun-Times
1 pound raw almonds with skins
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups confectioners' sugar or 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1) Combine almonds, water and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat to keep mixture just at a boil. Stir constantly until syrup is reduced to sand, about 20 minutes. All of the water will evaporate and the sugar "sand" will adhere to the almonds. Remove pan from heat.
2) Spread sugared almonds on a baking sheet and place in refrigerator or freezer until cool.
3) Place chocolate in top of a double boiler and gently melt until chocolate reaches 88 degrees.
4) When almonds are cool, break off excess clumps of sugar and place half of them in a large mixing bowl. Pour half of melted chocolate over them, and stir until almonds are fully coated, separated and have cooled. Place chocolate-covered almonds on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and set aside. Repeat with remaining almonds.
5) Place one batch of almonds in a medium bowl. Top with half of cocoa or powdered sugar. Toss to coat and separate almonds. When completely covered transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining almonds. Store in an airtight container or freezer if not to be served immediately.
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