#handcraftededibles: Go Nuts

#handcraftedediblesIn an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crated edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we’ll be sharing recipes for all your homemade holiday gifts. Hope you’ll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule here.

Today’s theme is “Go Nuts”. Spiced and candied nuts or nut mixes make for perfect party food. Next time you’re invited to a holiday party, bring a pretty container full of flavored nuts to gift to the generous host.

I had a couple of recipes on the blog that would fit today’s theme, but I’ve decided to re-share my personal favorite, Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds. These almonds are a great alternative to the popular traditional candied nuts and are guaranteed to wow your friends.

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 4 C almonds
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp orange zest

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place almonds on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and roast 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt together butter and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved remove from  the heat and mix in the rosemary and orange zest.
  4. Toss roasted almonds and the butter mixture together in a large bowl. Spread nuts back out on baking sheet(s) to cool completely.

*This recipe is adapted from Christie at http://akitchenhoor.blogspot.com/2015/02/src-reveal-orange-and-rosemary-roasted.html*

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds | Sew You Think You Can Cook

To give nuts as a gift place them in a glass container and tie it with a bow along with the recipe! An entire gift basket of different nut flavors and varieties would be a great gift, too.

Here are some other options to fill your basket:

Next week – week 10 – check back for our recipes to inspire you as we let our confectioner’s skills shine. Think truffles, barks, anything
and everything with chocolate. Don’t forget to check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Thankful for Friends and Bloggers

Last month my wonderful friend Tara of Tara’s Multicultural Table threw me a surprise virtual baby shower for my baby boy. The theme behind this blogging event was Thanksgiving.

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With a Fall baby, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect theme. Especially when Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I definitely have so much to be thankful for this year.

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Tara gathered together a wonderful group of bloggers willing to share a Thanksgiving recipe in honor of my baby boy.

Thank you again to all of the bloggers who came to my shower and a huge thank you to Tara for hosting. I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds

Earlier this month I hosted our monthly Po-Ke-No game. Po-Ke-No is essentially bingo but instead of letter-number combinations, the board is filled with different playing cards and a standard deck of cards is used to call out the “tiles.”

Each month someone new hosts and gets to pick a theme for the night. We all bring $1 and a “Secret Santa” style $10 gift in a bag. We play through two rounds. In the first, the winner of each game picks a bag and shows everyone what’s inside. In the second round, the winner of each game gets to steal a gift of their choice. Each gift can only be stolen twice, making it effectively “owned” a total of three times. (Starbucks gift cards and cash are the first to be finished.) We play one more game for “all the marbles” aka that $1 buy-in.

While it’s not a requirement, I like to make my “Secret Santa” gift match the theme of the night. For example: for the theme of flowers I brought a flower silicone bowl cover (similar to this).

I chose the theme of citrus. I made a large batch of my Fresh Lemonade, these orange rosemary roasted almonds, and my Key Lime Cheesecake Filled Graham Cracker Bundt Cake. Everything was a success.

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 4 C almonds
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp orange zest

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place almonds on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with cooking spray and roast 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt together butter and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved remove from  the heat and mix in the rosemary and orange zest.
  4. Toss roasted almonds and the butter mixture together in a large bowl. Spread nuts back out on baking sheet(s) to cool completely.

*This recipe is adapted from Christie at http://akitchenhoor.blogspot.com/2015/02/src-reveal-orange-and-rosemary-roasted.html*

Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

CIC: Cashews and Coffee

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I can’t believe I am actually posting with the Crazy Ingredient Challenge today! I loved seeing the winning flavor combination of Cashews and Coffee but simply kept forgetting about actually making my dish.

I immediately though of a play on a frappuccino, because you hear coffee you think Starbucks (or at least I do since my best friend is a store manager). I really wasn’t sure how to make that happen and simply pushed it out of my mind. But then I saw a commercial for cashew milk last week and this month’s challenge came screaming back to me. To be that guy in the almond milk commercials, “I don’t know what it tastes like so I don’t want to try it.” It’s not that I don’t want to try it, it’s that I don’t want to be stuck with a half gallon of cashew milk if I don’t like it!

Back to the drawing board and I thought of brownies. I know a lot of people add instant espresso to their chocolate desserts to intensify that chocolate flavor. And I only have a measly two recipes for brownies on this site. It’s a dessert I tend to forget about, but absolutely adore when I have them. These rich, fudgy brownies are studded with salty cashews for a perfect late night craving buster.

Fudgey Cashew Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 7 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp instant espresso coffee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C chopped cashews

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 (or 9×9) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Place butter, chocolate, espresso powder, and salt in a large glass bowl over a double boiler. Warm over low heat until butter and chocolate are melted together. Remove from double boiler (and heat).
  3. Mix in the sugars until combined. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour until there aren’t any lumps. Fold in the cashews.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake 22-25 minutes, until the brownies are set. Place pan on a cooling rack. Let brownies cool before cutting.

*This recipe is adapted from Yvonne at http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/10/one-bowl-espresso-cashew-brownies-recipe.html*

Fudgey Cashew Brownies for Crazy Ingredient Challenge from Sew You Think You Can Cook

To see the other bloggers who participated in this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge click on the link below.

Eating the Bible: Gifts of Contrition?

Rena created beautiful chicken packages filled with pistachio and almonds to complement Genesis 43:11.

“And Israel their father said to them: If it be so, then do this: take from the best of the land in your vessels and bring the man a gift: a little balsam, a little honey, some gum and resin, pistachios and almonds.”

The definition of contrition is sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation.  The gifts given to Joseph from his brother were not gifts fit for a king, but rather a care package from home. The foods native to Israel are considered to be a symbol reminding Joseph of his betrayal; an effort to make him feel guilt.

Contrition is not a concept I agree with. And a God to be fearful of is not one I want to believe in. I can understand that religion and God is often used to impart “right” and “wrong”, especially on children, but I do not believe in using fear as a way to teach morality.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” by C.S. Lewis. And that philosophy is how I view God. I don’t make my decisions based on fear of God, I don’t do what I think it right because God would want it to be that way. I’d like to think that God is judging me on who I am, not who I am because of a fear. I think genuine actions are the most important.

Pistachio Almond Chicken Parcels

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 C ground toasted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 C ground toasted almonds
  • 1/2 C plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 C honey, plus more for drizzling

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half to create 6 thinner breasts.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Spread 1-2 tbsp of nut mixture on each chicken breast. Roll chicken and place in a greased baking dish. Top with any remaining nut mixture and drizzle with honey. Bake 30-35 minutes.

*This recipe is adapted from Eating the Bible by Rena Rossner*

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The nut mixture would be great placed in crescent rolls too!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Sugar and Spiced Nuts

Have you ever been to a carnival or amusement park and had the purple paper cone filled with candied nuts? For my husband, it’s a not-to-be-missed treat.

We spent our first anniversary at Universal Studios, where I conquered my fear of rollercoasters. I have a slight obsession with Harry Potter and was so excited to step into Hogwarts and shop the streets of Hogsmeade. I highly recommend a trip… or two! (We went again the following year for my birthday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Omfiz0c1I0) I could go fly with Harry on The Forbidden Journey all day. Stuart’s favorite ride is still The Incredible Hulk.

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Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Before we left the park on our last day, Stuart was determined to find these magical candied almonds. We finally found them in Seuss Landing.

This recipe for sugar and spiced nuts isn’t an exact replica, but they are delicious. Like Stuart said, “It’s like Christmas in my mouth!”

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Sugar and Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 C almonds
  • 1 C walnuts
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, and spices.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together egg white, 1 tbsp water, and vanilla until it foams.
  3. Toss nuts in the egg white mixture. Strain nuts and toss in the sugar mixture. (I forgot to strain the nuts, they still turned out great, but instead of individual nuts they turned out more like balls of candied nuts.)
  4. Spread nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Toss and roast another 15 minutes.

*This recipe is modified from Kristi at http://www.30poundsofapples.com/2012/09/sugar-n-spiced-pecans/*

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And here’s a bonus recipe idea – I reserved 1/8 C of the sugar and we sprinkled it over buttered bagels before putting them in the toaster oven.