Approximately 2 BC (Before Children, that is), or 2004, depending on what calendar you follow, my husband and I were crazy for smokehouse almonds. I'd buy a big container of them every month or two and even with just the two of us in the house they never lasted for long.
And then I got into reading labels. And sadly I could not bring myself to buy them any longer.
Recently I was standing in line at the grocery store and I saw a little packet of smokehouse almonds with the familiar blue label above the conveyor belt. I felt a twinge of nostalgia. I picked up the packet and checked the ingredient list again just to see.
Hydrolyzed corn protein, hydrolyzed soy protein and maltodextrin were on the list. Not to mention "natural flavors", which could be any number of things, including MSG.
So I put the packet back on the shelf. But I kept thinking about them. Almonds are so healthy, high in vitamins E, Riboflavin and Folate and a virtual mineral powerhouse. Like a pre-made multivitamin from nature! Plus they are alkaline and help balance the typical American acidic diet.
What a shame.
Then on the way home I thought, why don't I just make my own?
Why I never thought of this before, I will never know. But here they are. Five ingredients. And gluten-free to boot. (If you aren't gluten free and don't have chickpea flour, feel free to substitute whole wheat flour.)
If liquid smoke is not an ingredient you are familiar with, most brands are gluten free, but, as always, check the label. Ideally, it should contain only smoke and water. You will want to store the liquid smoke in the fridge.
Smokehouse Almonds Makes 1 cup
1 cup raw almonds 2 tsp olive oil* 1 tsp liquid smoke 2 tsp chickpea flour (or whole wheat flour) 1/2 tsp fine ground Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. (Won't take long!)
Mix the almonds and oil in a small bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Bake almonds for 40 minutes.
Return the warm almonds to the small bowl and drizzle with the liquid smoke. Stir to combine evenly.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the almonds and mix to evenly distribute.
Bake almonds again for 15 minutes.
Let cool. Serve at room temperature and store the nuts in an airtight container (make sure they are totally cool first).
*NOTE: Normally I would not advise cooking with extra virgin olive oil, but since we are toasting the almonds at such a low temperature, if that is all you have, feel free to use it. Extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of about 300-320 degrees and should therefore not be use in high heat cooking.