Category Archives: Snacks

Chocolate Covered Almonds

My roommate left a container of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Almonds sitting on the counter not long ago. The good roommate that I am, I really *tried* not to eat a noticeable amount…but since she was away on vacation, I slowly decimated them. In my defense, they were unbelievably delicious! I decided I would make some of my own. I couldn’t find anything that was quite the same online but I did find a recipe that I think made an even better product–these with a hint of cinnamon to kick up the flavor. Don’t say I didn’t warn you: these will not last long if you leave them in plain sight.

Chocolate covered almonds

Even if you just sugared the almonds and didn’t coat with the chocolate, they make a devastatingly delicious snack:

Sugared almonds waiting for their chocolate

Chocolate Covered Almonds
Adapted loosely from this Chicago Sun-Times’ reader’s recipe for Chocolate Covered Almonds and this Serious Eats recipe, with chocolate tempering advice from David Lebovitz. I *highly* recommend reading DL’s post about tempering the chocolate because it makes a world of a difference–it’s not even worth making these if you’re not going to temper, in my opinion. That crunch is where it’s at.

1 1/2 cups whole almonds with skins on, toasted
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
A few pinches coarse-ground sea salt

1. In a medium saucepan, cook almonds, sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon over medium heat until the almonds have a dry, sand-like coating. Stir constantly to prevent caramelization.

2. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and cool in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. While the almonds are cooling, temper your chocolate. If you’re not sure how, see David Lebovitz’ instructions for tempering chocolate.

3. Once the almonds are cool, break off the huge chunks of sugar that have stuck to the almonds. Snack on them. Yum.

4. When the chocolate is at the right temperature, coat your almonds. You can EITHER dump the almonds in the chocolate, stir, and then individually separate; or you can dump the chocolate on the almonds, coat, and separate; OR you can do what I wish I had done, which is dip each almond in the bowl of chocolate on a fork and then place it on parchment paper on a different baking sheet. If you do the 2 easier/faster dumping techniques, you end up with giant clumps of almonds instead of individuals. Sprinkle the freshly-coated almonds with coarse sea salt.

5. Move covered + salted almonds to the refrigerator to set for about 20 minutes. In theory, they will not melt at room temperature (or in your hands) because of the tempering. Hurrah! Enjoy.


Healthy Granola Bars

Frisbee tournaments are my favorite part about summer weather in Boston. The heat and humidity–not so much! But one thing I’ve discovered this year is that they’re a great opportunity to debut some experimental “power” foods that will get us through the 8-hour long days of running (and pantsing each other, of course).

Homemade Healthy Granola Bars

There are a few traditional sideline foods–pickles, PBR, Cheez-Its, Pretzels, candy, the occasional Butterfinger bar to give to a player who drops a disc on a really key play…hehehe. I usually prefer to bring food with more protein, though, because the all-carbs thing makes me crash by the early afternoon. Mike invented some “energy bites” which I’ll probably make again soon and post, but last weekend I decided to try my hand at granola bars.

I don’t usually LOVE granola bars, but they are a great way to deliver a mix of nutrients with some great texture and taste. These came out really crunchy–very similar to the Nature Valley brand granola bars–but they softened (and improved, I think) after sitting in the sun in the Ziploc bag for a little while. They definitely helped power me through the day in small bits, though, and they’re made of (mostly) super-healthy, wholesome ingredients. No fake stuff here!

Healthy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars
Adapted from Epicurious’ recipe for Raisin and Cardamom Granola Bars.

4 cups instant oats, toasted first for about 10 minutes
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1.5 cups toasted raw almonds, chopped roughly
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter (3/4 stick)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your granola sheet (I used half of an 11×17 pan with thick bars as a result) with aluminum foil that hangs over the edges by at least an inch. Butter the foil. If your oats and almonds need to be toasted, do that first (oats for 10 minutes, almonds for about 6-8, or until they smell like popcorn).

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cranberries, almonds, and cinnamon. Over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and honey. Once the butter melts, remove from heat and add vanilla. Combine all ingredients and stir until well coated. If it doesn’t stick together yet, add more honey and continue stirring.

Pour the granola mixture onto the foil. With another piece of aluminum foil, press down the granola so that it sticks together in an even layer. Remove that piece of foil and set it aside. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then press down again with the foil. CAREFUL–it will be hot! I used a towel around my hand when pressing down with the foil.

After completely cool, lift from pan using foil overhang. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.