Lots of almonds - what to do?
I get 25lbs of raw, unpeeled almonds from a relative every year for Christmas. The new shipment arrived and I have half of last year's bag still!
Any favorite recipies that use a ton of almonds? I have an irrational hatred of blanching almonds, so anything skin on would be great!
Wow, if you still have half of last year's on hand, that's probably already enough for the year.
How about making a huge batch of spiced or candied almonds and taking them to a soup kitchen or Meals-on-Wheels or somewhere that serves food to the needy? Anything that won't have to be repackaged and is easy to distribute would be heartily welcomed. And you can make these in batches of a couple pounds at a time.
Make French almond nougat. The recipe linked below requires 2 cups of almonds and produces a really good candy. If you have some candy-making experience and a trusty thermometer, this isn't that hard to make. Contrary to what the recipe says, you MUST use edible wafer paper, oiling the pan just doesn't work (really hard to pry it out). Also, a larger pan produced thinner pieces that were easier to cut, and made better bite-sized pieces. The candy improved in texture over several days, so you have plenty of time to indulge or share.
The article is informative, but fails to mention that the REAL nougat de montelimar uses lavender honey.
Thank you for the link to the article on how to make nougat. The Italians have a version called torrone, almost identical as far as I can tell to the French version. When I was a little girl, my father would take me to the Italian grocery store and buy some torrone for me. It came individually wrapped in small,decorative boxes, and was sometimes flavored with orange or lemon essence. For me, there was an element of the forbidden about it because of the communion wafer on the outside. The nuns at my church (who were not Italian and probably didn't know about torrone) had warned us that communion wafer is not food, and should never be chewed. So, chomping communion wafer--on candy, no less!--seemed to my young mind to be really pushing the limits. Now, as an adult, I simply adore the taste of a good nutty nougat and I don't worry about the religious implications! :)
re: La Dolce Vita
Print or save the recipe before the LA times drops the article! I had to look hard for a recipe that looked right, and this produced the real thing.
I've tried torrone from an Italian deli, and think there is less difference between torrone and nougat than between different makers of nougat. When made well, both are wonderful candies.
When I was little I thought eating the paper wierd - what goats do!
You can make these -- they're really good! The recipe is adapted from one from The Union Square Cafe -- that one uses mixed nuts. This recipe was adapted by Sara Moulton and uses only almonds. I'm paraphrasing it here.
1 1/4 pounds Unsalted almonds
3 tablespoons Coarsely-chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon Cayenne
3 teaspoons Dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
3 teaspoons Coarse salt
1 tablespoon Unsalted butter, melted
Toast the almonds until they are golden (about 12 to 15 minutes) on a baking sheet placed on the center rack of a 350 degree oven. Watch carefully -- nuts burn easily.
In a large bowl, toss together the rest of the ingredients. When the almonds are toasted, mix them with this rosemary-butter mixture.
Makes 4 cups.
paraphrased from Cooking Live website.
Thanks everybody for their suggestions! I didn't know that some of this stuff was made with almonds.
This is now a 5-year tradition. I got a bit overwhlemed when I found that I still had 10-15 lbs from last year! Usually have a hoiday cocktail party that uses up a bunch.
I'll let you know if I do anything interesting.