Feb 21, 2013

Toasting almonds

Toasting nuts is a tricky thing. None of the directions I have found so far have worked. It seems like it's experimenting every time. Maybe it's the type of nuts, how they have been stored, was the bag opened, how old they are, how dry or how moist. Are they from California, China or Turkey? I don't know. But it all seems to matter. 

The big question is how to get the flavor without burning the nuts. One thing I know for sure is that it's better to do the toasting in a hot oven rather than on a skillet. It's very easy to make them black on a skillet and that's all. No flavor. In the oven, nuts have a chance to toast through more evenly and that's where the flavor comes from. They should be pale golden inside. It's a bit difficult to tell if you are toasting them with skin, so split a couple of nuts before putting them in the oven. 

You don't want to cook them. You don't want them to sweat. They need high temperature and a rather short time in the oven.

In my recipes, I only use toasted nuts. You just don't get the flavor from raw nuts. I made cookies today, with toasted almonds. This is how I did it:

time: about 10-15 minutes

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Spread nuts evenly on a large baking sheet. One very loose layer of nuts is all you can do at once. If you put more, the nuts will get soft cooking in their own heat. 

Place the sheet in the middle of the oven. Toast for about 7-10 minutes, then move the baking sheet higher and switch the oven heat to broil (top grill on high) for another 3-5 minutes. 

During the process, stir the nuts three or four times. At the same time, keep checking if they are changing in color. They only should change a bit. Checking for flavor is maybe more important but that depends on the quality/variety of the nuts and your nose, I think. Ideally, when there is a nice aroma, the nuts are ready. But then again, you might burn them beforehand, so don't wait too long for the nutty flavor in your kitchen. 

To remove the skin, take a hand full of nuts and rub them briskly in your hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment