Hi everyone, my name is Toasted Almonds. You might not think much of me–I know nuts aren’t the most beloved of foods, and toasting? It sounds like a waste of time, right?–but I’m here to convince you that I’m a worthy addition to your cooking repertoire.
My brother, Plain Almonds, is a nice guy and all, but between you and me? He’s a little boring. For example, he underlines words that he doesn’t know when he reads, then he makes flash cards and studies them later. That’s Plain Almonds for ya. But me? I’m a wild man. When I read, I doodle inappropriate pictures in the margins of the book. Like last week I drew pictures of toasted, skinless hazelnuts in the margins of “Crime & Punishment” and Plain Almonds got so mad! He told me I was trail mix the next time I tried a stunt like that.
As if I’d allow myself to be used in trail mix. What kind of Almond does he think I am? I only allow myself to be used in the most sophisticated, delectable recipes on earth. Lately, for example, I took part in a Toasted Almond gelato created by none other than Gina DePalma, pastry chef at Babbo.
Have you ever had one of those Good Humor toasted almond ice cream pops? Well that’s what this tasted like, only better.
Isn’t that a flattering ice cream on me? There was Amaretto in there too and it got me a little tipsy.
The other recipe I took part in was one for a picnic: Toasted Almond Blondies with Raspberries from one Miss Martha Stewart. Here I am out in the sun:
My Toasted Almond flavor really made that blondie way better than the same blondie with Plain Almonds—sorry Plain, you know it’s true.
Anyway, I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Below, you’ll find both recipes so you can give me, Toasted Almonds, a chance. Just don’t toast me too long! Then I’d be Burnt Almonds and we all know Burnt Almonds is bad news. I can’t even TELL you what he doodles in the margins of books. Hope you enjoy me!
Toasted Almond Gelato
from “Dolce Italiano” by Gina DePalma
Makes About 2 Cups (which isn’t nearly enough, so you might want to double it)
1 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon flavorful honey, such as clover or millifiori
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons amaretto
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a clean baking sheet and toast them for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are golden brown and aromatic.
Remove the almonds from the oven and place them in a medium saucepan. Add the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and honey and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
When the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to infuse the liquid with the flavor of the almonds.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then strain it through a chinois or fine-meshed sieve and discard the almonds.
Stir in the salt, amaretto, and almond extract.
Chill the gelato thoroughly in a covered container, at least 3 to 4 hours. Freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Toasted Almond Raspberry Blondies
from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 2/3 cups raspberries
1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over two sides. Butter parchment.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
3. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in 3/4 cup almonds.
4. Pour batter into prepared dish; smooth top.
Scatter berries and remaining 1/4 cup almonds over batter.
Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, 55 to 60 minutes.
5. Let blondies cool 15 minutes. Transfer blondies to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares. Blondies can be stores in single layers in airtight containers at room temp up to 3 days.