When I’m at home, I love having snacks handy at all times. Maybe because it’s because I am on the go a lot, but during the day I don’t have a lot of time to sit and fix a full meal. I’ve discovered, however, that my favorite afternoon meal consists of snacks like bread, cheese, cured meats, and these delicious almonds.
I like making these almonds in bulk because, although the kitchen work is minimal, They last for months, and are really handy to have when I’m looking for something to eat and I don’t have a lot of time. They also go really well with cheese boards. During the holidays, I make a large batch and gift tins of these to coworkers, friends, and family as they are a great way to give an affordable and personal gift.
Chile lime almonds:
3 lbs. raw almonds
5 limes zested and sliced thinly
2 tsp citric acid
2 tsp toasted cumin
10 oz of dried chilies, makes about 2 cups ground
2tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Using a zester, zest the limes completely, and reserve the zest. Now slice limes as thinly as possible. A mandolin would be great, but you could just eyeball it with a knife. Place the lime slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a oven set to the lowest heat. That should be around 170 degrees F. Dry them out until they are completely dry and brittle to the touch. Remove and let cool. It will probably take between 1 and 2 hours depending on your oven. You can do this step a few days beforehand if necessary, but refrigerate the zest in a sealed container so it won’t lose its flavor. The limes keep almost indefinitely after drying. Below you can see the before and after.
Let’s talk a second about dried chilies. There are dozens of varieties, and you can find these at any grocery store. Different chilies have various flavors and levels of heat. Any will work for this recipe, but I like using a blend of six or seven different types in order to have a full flavor and controlled heat. If you look around your city, you may be able to find specialty markets that sell unique varieties.
These are the chilies that I used. I found them all at a latin market near me, and bought 10 lbs…which cost me ten dollars and will last me for the next few years! Some are smoked, some are spicy, and some have a fruity flavor almost like dried apricots. If you notice, this recipe only uses 1 cup, but makes 2 cups. When I’m grinding spices, I like to make extra to use from day to day in other recipes and things I cook. I like using this home made chili powder in soups, salads, and especially in mac and cheese!!
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F
In a blender or spice grinder, grind the chilies, cumin, dried limes and salt as finely as possible. Remove to a bowl and whisk in citric acid, sugar, and lime zest.
In another large bowl, with a whisk, whip the egg white until frothy. Toss the almonds in the whipped egg white to coat as evenly as possible. Now, toss in the spice mixture and make sure the almonds are coated with spice as well as possible. Evenly distribute the almonds between two parchment lined cookie sheet trays and roast in the oven for 25 minutes. If the almonds are still moist to the touch after 25 minutes, check back every five minutes until they egg white has completely dried out.
Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature. Keep these in an air tight container. These almonds will keep for at least 3 months if stored in a cool, dry place in your pantry. In all honesty, they will probably last longer, but I’ve never managed to keep from eating all of them for longer than that!