When it comes to food, what is your ideal smell of something heavenly? For me, other than freshly baked bread, it is toasted almonds—and I’m sure there is a perfume company out there that has already bottled that scent. This week the 38 Power Foods blog group is talking about almonds. There are two varieties of almonds, sweet and bitter. The bitter almonds are used to make facial scrubs, lotions, and fragrances, and the sweet almonds are used in cooking and baking desserts and delicious savory foods.
I knew a man some years ago whose diet was heavily based on nuts and raw vegetables, and he attributed his clear healthy skin to all the nuts he ate, especially almonds. It seems that almonds may also be good for helping overweight people to lose weight and keep the weight off. Studies show that “eating almonds with high glycemic index food significantly lowers the glycemic index of the meal and lessens the rise in blood sugar after eating” ( World’s Healthiest Foods ). And the polyunsaturated fats help lower unwanted LDL cholesterol.
Nuts are an important source of protein too. Just one-quarter cup of almonds has 7.62 grams of protein, 44.8% of daily vitamin E needs, and 45% of manganese. Even though the recipe below calls for peeled almonds, it is best to snack on almonds that have the skin on because it’s full of polynutrients that fight disease and aid immunity. Are nuts and almonds an important part of your healthy eating habits?
*Note – Next time I make this recipe for Sweet Almond Biscotti with Chocolate Chips, I will add an extra ½ cup of almonds and use dried cranberries instead of chocolate chips, or maybe even in addition to them.
½ cup brown rice syrup (I use Lundberg’s Organic “Sweet Dreams Brown Rice Syrup”)
1/3 cup cane sugar, or coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2-½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup almonds, toasted
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350° and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Peel and toast the almonds – to do this, put a cup of water in a small pot and bring the water to a boil, and then add the almonds to the pot and turn off the heat. Let the almonds soak for a minute, and then remove a few almonds from the pot at a time. One by one pinch the almonds from the rounded end to squeeze it through the pointed end. Place the almonds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. When the almonds are lightly toasted, remove them from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 °.
3. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-large bowl.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well, and then add the extras: the almonds and the chocolate chips.
6. Form the dough into logs. This is a wet dough so first throw about a tablespoon of flour on the counter and place ½ of the dough on top of it. Sprinkle another little bit of flour on top of the dough so your hands don’t stick to it, and shape the dough into a log about 8×4 inches. Place the log lengthwise on one side of the sheet pan, and then shape it longer and narrower, about 14 x 2 ½. Repeat with the other half of the dough and place it on the other half of the sheet pan.
7. Bake the logs at 375° about 23 minutes, and then remove them from the oven and slice them at a slight angle—about ½-inch thick. Bake the sliced cookies 5 minutes on each side.