Cinnamon-Vanilla Spiced Almonds

2013-12-23 14.29.39I realize, of course, that this is embarrassingly after-the-fact (for which I am very sorry and hope you forgive me, readers), but I wanted to share with you the recipe for some awesome Cinnamon-Vanilla Spiced Almonds that I made as gifts for friends and family over the holiday season. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good spiced almond any ol’ time of year??

I, for one, think that “fancied up” nuts should be enjoyed year-round. Not only are they a great healthy snack that, when consumed wisely, help prevent obesity; additionally, nuts including almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts and pistachios have been proven to help protect your body against the damaging physical effects of stress, maintain cholesterol levels, and improve heart and brain health. Now that is one powerful fruit!

For these reasons (and also because they simply are delicious!), I usually keep some sort of nuts around for snacking, and I decided to use these crunchy little buddies when it came time to make my holiday gifts. Because they contain a lot of (heart-healthy) monosaturated fats and natural flavor, raw nuts are really easy to dress up with some simple spices and seasonings (besides the counterproductive yucky salt) to make extra delicious. Plus, I got to use my crock pot!! Talk about a win-win situation 🙂

2013-12-23 08.43.23(Crock Pot) Cinnamon-Vanilla Spiced Almonds

adapted from Polka Dotted Elephants

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg white
  • 6 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup water
In a large bowl mix together sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. In another large bowl beat egg white and vanilla by hand or with an electric  mixer until mixture is frothy. Add the almonds and coat thoroughly. Once your almonds are thoroughly coated with the egg mixture, pour the sugar mixture over the almonds and stir to coat.
Prepare crock pot by spaying it with cooking spray. Turn the crock pot on to low and add almonds to pot. Cook for 4-5 hours, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent burning.
2013-12-23 14.28.59In the last hour, add 1/4 cup water to the almonds and stir. Continue to stir every 20 minutes until done. Spread the almonds out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once they begin to cool the cinnamon sugar glaze will harden. Wait several hours before packaging.
Namas-tasty!
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Holiday Gingerdoodles

2013-12-04 10.26.06One of the most enjoyable parts of the holidays for me is gift-giving. I like to think of myself as a little elf distributing packages of holiday cheer 😉 Just kidding. But I really do love spreading joy and love this time of year.

Since baking is my happy place (and also more personal – and less expensive – than more other gifts), I usually like to make festive treats, wrap them up in sweet little packages, and deliver them to friends and family in the area. (I had planned on sending these out to loved ones in other states, as well, until I got to the post office and realized how much it was going to cost to ship all the packages… YIKES! It’s the thought that counts, right?!)

2013-11-26 23.12.42These were my Thanksgiving  gifts this year. Last week I baked up some goodies, downloaded these cute (and free!) printable gift tags from She Wears Many Hats, and dug out my rolls of raffia (perfect for a harvest theme), to assemble little gift bags.

I got some really great feedback on these “gingerdoodles.” I admit, I even tried a few myself. They are pretty awesome! Definitely more festive and flavorful than your typical boring snickerdoodle cookie, these soft, gooey treats are filled with that wholesome molasses flavor. Try making the for a holiday crowd, or just for yourself!

Holiday Gingerdoodles

Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses. Whip 1-2 minutes or until it turns a light brown color. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just combined.

2013-11-25 10.59.08Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and coat in granulated sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes or until outside looks cooked but inside is still soft and gooey. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Namas-tasty!