I developed this recipe around the holidays last year. I wanted to make homemade gifts for people, instead of just buying a lot of things people may or may not like. I know my friends and family well enough to know they always like food.
I also wanted to have some new high energy snacks that were a bit different than your usual trail mix. I played around with different recipes, different binding agents, and after trying a few I found that the combination of sugar and egg whites gave me the results I wanted. The sugar provides a sweetness and the egg whites help bind all the other flavors to the sugar. To offset the sweetness, I mixed in some tart dried strawberries. Any other tart fruit works well with this recipe, such as cherries. I had a large amount of organic strawberries that I had dried earlier (during strawberry season), but feel free to add whatever fruit is in season. The hint of vanilla and nutmeg in this recipe really lets the play of strawberry and toasted nuts come through. Try them after a long hike, and you will notice the subtle flavors. Don’t leave out the salt. It really makes the flavors pop.
Strawberry Vanilla Almonds
Makes 12 half-cup servings
- 6 cups almonds (or 3 cups almonds and 3 cups hazelnuts)
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups dried strawberries
Pour the nuts in to a large bowl and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees, and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. While the oven heats, beat the egg whites and water with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold in sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. Add vanilla extract, salt and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture over nuts, and stir gently until the nuts are coated. Pour nuts on to baking sheet and spread out evenly. Place nuts on rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, checking about every ten minutes to make sure they are not burning. Stir nuts every 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, stir in strawberries and store in an airtight container for a week.
On the trail: