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Roasted almonds can make a healthy snack or a decadent dessert depending on how you season them. Some of the best tips for roasting almonds are to keep the nuts in a single layer at all times, and to use the stove top or oven depending on the size of the batch that you are making. Staying close by when roasting can help to prevent burning, and seasoning the nuts when they are still warm will allow the herbs, spices, and other ingredients to adhere to the almonds properly.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when roasting almonds is overfilling the skillet or baking sheet. In order for almonds to roast correctly, they need to be kept in a single layer, preferably with some space between each nut. This allows each individual almond to heat up evenly, making it possible for the natural sugars in the nut to caramelize fully.
To make the best use of space, and to give the almonds enough room to roast in an even layer, one of the best tips for this easy cooking method is to use a stove top for small batches and your oven for larger ones. The stove top method of placing almonds in a dry skillet over low heat is relatively quick and can give you a small amount of roasted almonds in less than 10 minutes. Larger batches, which are usually made when the nuts will be used as a snack rather than as part of a larger recipe, can be done in the oven provided that the heat is kept low.
Any recipe that you use for roasting almonds will give you an estimated cooking time. Despite this, how long the nuts take to roast will vary drastically on the size of the almonds and how accurate the temperature gauge on your oven is, or the type of skillet that you use when roasting on the stove top. As a result, one of the best tips for roasting almonds is to stay in your kitchen while doing so. Your nose is the best indicator of whether the almonds are fully roasted — if you can smell a strong scent of nuts, they are done. As with most nuts, almonds can go from perfectly roasted to burnt and bitter within a matter of seconds, so staying close by will help to prevent this.
Oil is often used to help seasonings adhere to a piece of food; however, as almonds have natural oils that help them roast, it is important not to add any extra oil during the cooking process. For most recipes, seasoning directly after roasting almonds will help the ingredients to stick without extra oil, as the natural oil in the almonds is still in liquid form. If you wait until the almonds are cool, the oil will have already hardened, making it impossible for the seasonings to stick without adding any unnecessary oil.
Yep, always stay with it if you're roasting almonds, pecans -- any kind of nut. They burn in a hurry and without warning. They go from nicely toasted to black and crispy while you watch. So keep your eyes on them.
Don't have your skillet too hot, either. If it is, it can burn the nuts on the outside and leave the insides raw. Start with a moderate heat and increase it if necessary. It's better to sneak up on roasting nuts. You're roasting -- not sauteeing.
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