These spicy almonds are actually addictive all year round not just for the festive season – they partner perfectly with a beer, a tasty substitute for the obligatory peanut which yours truly is intolerant of. They have a little crispy, meringue shell which reminds me of the caramelised peanuts you get on the German Christmas market stalls. But these have a warming kick from the Moroccan chilli and spices.
Almonds are classed as a ‘superfood’ (The Food Bible by Judith Wilis) which means they are good for your health and help fight illnesses. They are a good source of calcium, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous and are rich in vitamin B2, niacin and vitamin E.
This recipe isn’t that healthy due to the sugar, but hey it is Christmas! It has been adapted from the cookbook, Mourad New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou.
500g whole almonds
3 tbsp sugar (a vanilla pod lives in my sugar jar to add flavour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp Harissa powder or paprika
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of chilli powder (depends how ‘hot’ you want them)
2 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 160-170C, 325F, Gas Mark 3.
In a large bowl use an electric whisk turn the egg whites into a fluffy mass of soft peak meringue. Slowly fold in the sugar and all the spices. Then add the almonds and using a spatula make sure all the almonds are coated with the mix.
I am a convert to the re-usable baking parchment sheets – place one on a baking tray then add the almonds, spread them out into a single layer. Put the tray in the oven for 15 mins then remove and again using a spatula, move the almonds around the tray to stop them sticking. Then return to the over for another ten minutes, remove and break them up again. You will need to this two more times. So in total the almonds should be cooked for 45 mins. Take one from the tray, cool and see if they are slightly brown in the middle.
Leave to cool then put 100g into cellophane bags and give to loved ones. Happy Christmas!
- We bought a massive 1 kilo bag of whole almonds from International Supermarket for £5.99.
- John – the market stall holder by Sainsburys on the Saturday Walthamstow Market who for years we have nic-named ‘Chocolate Man’ also does good deals on dried fruit and nuts.