Hi, friends! Sharing a quick craft beering snack idea today – for hops salted roasted almonds. Almonds are not only my favorite nuts, but our oven’s too. I render judgement based on how it rewards us by infusing the entire house with an incredible scent. It is beginning to smell a lot like Christmas around here.
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I associate the smell of roasted nuts in general with the spectacular European open air Christmas markets. The kind where an entire city square (often times the adjacent streets as well) is lined up with tents and you walk around with a cup of mulled wine (or if you are lucky mulled ale, we have a recipe coming up tomorrow:) listening to Christmas music. Sometimes it even quietly snows…I have picture perfect memories of people browsing the stalls laden with cookies, baked and handmade goods, roasted chestnuts and nuts. That idyllic ambiance with all of its smells and sounds is so imprinted in my mind, it means the holidays to me. I often feel nostalgic about it this time of year. Roasting nuts at home is one way to evoke those warm sentiments.
At the Christmas markets, enticed by the irresistible scent, you’d inevitably find yourself standing in front of a tent selling roasted nuts measured out by weight on cute old fashioned scales with brass weights (100 grams is a typical small serving). The nuts are handed to you in a small paper bag, still warm and emanating the most wonderful aromas. Snack in hand, you’d proceed with your browsing/shopping or sit down on a bench by a lamp post or a decorated tree, people watching as you nibble on the roasted nuts and inhale their toasty goodness. Next you’d get an equally aromatic warm drink. Such a low key way to ease into the festive Christmas spirit.
I guess roasted nuts can be classified as one of the official European street foods, especially during the days of Advent. You’ll find them at markets in every country, no exceptions. Quite a memorable treat – the experience of eating them seems to get committed to long term memory as soon as the scent hits your nostrils.
I’ve always preferred the salty roasted nuts to the cinnamon sugar or otherwise sweetened varieties, so at home I usually flavor them with olive oil and salt, but often add dried cranberries for their sweet and sour flavor and contrasting texture. I know, dried cranberries are not a traditional European thing, but in the recent past they have gained a lot of popularity and tons of them are imported from the US and Canada as well as grown in several Eastern European countries.
Just recently I used hop salt (Citra pellets) to add an extra layer of fruity citrus aroma to the roasted almonds. It tied perfectly with the particular, grassy bitterness of the extra virgin olive oil coating the nuts. A way of dressing up roasted almonds so good that I had to share it.
Plus, recently I was given this beer bottle shaped porcelain serving dish as a hostess gift and I couldn’t resist showing it off:) You might say (well, I am almost certain that you will) that it is quite tacky in appearance but I really like it. As a gift it really hit the spot with me, lol. My friends know me well. It is matte glazed which feels deeply satisfying to the touch in a way. Anyways, think me strange if you wish, but in case you want to find out what I am talking about, it is available here🙂
Before I leave you with my incredibly simple roasted almonds recipe, I want to remind you of the impressive partnership between all kinds of roasted nuts and Christmas brews. Beering snacks can be so healthy sometimes:)
While Chris and I are not into pumpkin ales, we are big fans of the spiced ales and lagers of the winter holidays. They taste so festive and we love the warming effect of their higher alcohol content and pronounced malty sweetness. Definitely a must try pairing with roasted nuts if you haven’t already been convinced through personal experience.
- 1 lb raw almonds
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp hop salt (https://craftbeering.com/how-to-make-hop-salt/)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Heat your oven to 350ºF.
- Spread the almonds on a half sheet baking pan or two quarter sheets.
- Roast for approximately 12 minutes. Check often to make sure you do not burn them and stir them around.
- Take them out when you feel they are done, transfer onto a cool sheet pan and let them cool off a little bit before tossing them in a bowl with the olive oil and hops salt.
- Add the dried cranberries, mix them with the almonds and serve.