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Sweet and Spicy Chinese Five Spice Roasted Almonds

I love plain roasted almonds, but sometimes I crave something with a little more pizazz.  Flavored almonds from the store can be good, but they’re often overwhelmingly salty, not to mention expensive.  So, I decided to come up with my own recipe for spiced roasted almonds.  What I ended up with is a simple recipe that might be just a little too good.  I can’t stop eating them!

When thinking about flavor combinations, I knew I wanted a balance between spicy, salty, and sweet.  So I pulled out some cayenne pepper, fine grain sea salt, and a packet of stevia, which I’ve been using more and more often lately when I need to add a touch of sweetnes.  But I couldn’t decide what to add for extra flavor.  I started searching through my spice cabinet and came across this bottle of Chinese Five Spice.  The moment I opened it and took a whiff, I knew I had found the perfect flavoring for my almonds.

The five spices included in the McCormick Gourmet blend are: Anise, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves, and Ginger.  It is commonly added to stir-fry dishes, marinades, and meat sauces, but the warm spices also lend themselves well to desserts like these Chinese Almond Cookies.

The spice blend was perfect on my almonds, and I definitely achieved the flavor balance that I was looking for.

I have been chosen by McCormick to participate in the McCormick Real Gourmets program. I have been paid by them and I received a big box full of McCormick Gourmet spices. I have been using McCormick Gourmet for years, and am thrilled for the opportunity to explore more of their spices and blends.  I used McCormick Gourmet Chinese Five Spice and Ground Cayenne when creating this almond recipe.

Sweet and Spicy Chinese Five Spice Roasted Almonds

2 cups raw almonds
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
3/4 teaspoon sugar (or 1/2 packet stevia)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the almonds with the olive oil.  Spread almonds out on a sheet pan in a single layer. (Keep the mixing bowl handy – you will need it again.)  While oven heats, mix the spices, salt, and sugar (or stevia) in a small bowl; set aside.

Bake almonds in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and carefully pour the hot almonds back into the mixing bowl.  Sprinkle spices over the nuts and toss well with a spoon.  Pour the seasoned almonds back onto the sheet pan and return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let nuts cool completely on pan.  Store cooled nuts in a covered container.

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