The particular almonds in question have been soaked and then oven roasted. They have a crispy, nutty, flavor, with a subtle hint of sweetness.
When they were raw they were slightly bitter due to the high tannin content of the skin. Soaking them allows the skin to be removed and inhibits the phytic acid that is also found in raw nuts, grains, and seeds.
Almonds are also a drupe, like the cherry and the olive and other ‘stone fruits’. They come in a wide variety from bitter to sweet. While it appears the common almond that we are typically used to eating originated in the Mediterranean, it has become an incredibly popular ingredient in cuisines around the world. Everything from beverages, to baking ingredients (flours and pastes) can be found around the globe.
Almonds have gained a crazy amount of popularity in the health world and given a place of superior status for health benefits, although in truth, there are other nuts that are as worthy, just perhaps not as globally recognized. They are best when somehow processed, such as soaking and then made into whatever the end result will be. Eating too many of them raw can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Historically, sweet and bitter almonds have been part of culinary and medicinal endeavors. The sweet almond has properties that are more healthful and is easier on the human digestive system. The bitter almond actually contains high amounts of cyanide and other toxins and can be quite a problem if too many are consumed... in the case of the bitter almond, too many is not actually that many, so be sure of your almond sources.
From a culinary perspective the almond has so many uses, there is no way possible to mention them all here. It is an incredibly versatile little nut. My favorite almond foods are almond butter, marzipan and almond paste. I also use almond flour quite a bit as a grain free baking option.
From a health perspective, almonds have been getting a lot of glory. My thoughts are more because they are so versatile than anything although the almond is a rich source of nutritional benefits. It is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein; making it a great snack or food option. Research suggests that including almonds in your dietary repertoire can help you manage your cholesterol, decrease your risk of heart disease, protect against diabetes, prevent gallstones, and increase your mood. The fiber also supports gastrointestinal health while the combination of minerals, fats, and protein are a great source of energy.
Does this mean you should go nuts eating these nuts? Not really, all of the studies I reviewed showed people consuming small amounts on a daily basis; roughly ¼ of a cup. Also, you will definitely want to read ingredients if you purchased whole cooked almonds. They are often baked with added ingredients like undesirable oils. If you are going to eat them, I highly recommend getting them raw, soaking them and then you can easily oven bake them and seal them once they are cool. They will last quite a while so long as they are not left sitting in the sun or heat.
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 ½ c. almond flour
- 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 c. chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the egg. Next, add the almond flour, vanilla, salt, and baking soda and mix until it’s all incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Scoop the batter into even portions onto the parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly before removing the cookies from the tray.