This is a great way to make almonds (which are already pretty moreish) into an even more tasty snack. The idea is to coat the nuts in a very thin salted-sweet-maple coating, just enough to give a hint of extra flavour, but without smothering the natural taste and texture of the nuts in an unhealthy tooth-aching pile of sugar.
Basically, you’re going to be spraying a small amount of sugar solution on the surface of the almonds, sprinkling a tiny amount of salt, and then roasting them. The water evaporates during the roasting, leaving a lovely thin sweet-salt coating on the surface.
You’ll need some kind of small spray bottle. I used one like this, which cost about £1 on eBay.
If you don’t have the mapleine, then you could just leave it out, which would give you a sweet-salt taste without the maple flavour. Alternatively, you could try some other natural extract or flavouring (vanilla? ginger? Or whatever takes your fancy) instead.
- About 2 cups raw (unroasted) almonds
- 2 tbsp sugar (white or light brown)
- 0.5 tsp mapleine
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- tiny pinch of salt
- Dissolve the sugar in the water. This might take a few minutes, but using boiling water is obviously quicker. The aim is to create a concentrated sugar solution, but not so concentrated that it won’t spray out of the nozzle in the bottle. If you find its too thick and won’t spray properly, just add a tiny bit more water.
- Add the mapleine.
- Pour the sugar solution into the spray bottle.
- Spread the almonds on a baking tray. Ideally they should just cover the tray in a single layer. You don’t want them to overlap too much, but you don’t want big gaps either.
- Heat the oven to 200C. Spray about 1/3 of the sugar solution over the surface of the almonds, sprinkle a tiny amount of salt (like a pinch, no more), and put the almonds in the oven for about 7 minutes.
- Remove the almonds from the oven, shake them around again on the baking tray (you’re trying to expose the as-yet-unsprayed surface), spray another 1/3 of the sugar solution on them, sprinkle again with a tiny amount of salt, and put them back in the over for another 7 minutes.
- Again, remove the almonds, shake them around, spray the remainder of the sugar solution on them, and put them back in the oven for about 7 minutes more. During this stage it’s a good idea to check the almonds every couple of minutes or so, and don’t be afraid to cut short the cooking time if they taste about right. You don’t want to over-roast them. Let your taste be your guide: if they taste right, they are right.
- As they cool, be careful not to let the almonds stick to the pan. Just shake them around periodically, so any remaining damp coating doesn’t stick them together. by the time they’re cool, they should be pretty non-sticky.