29 March, 2011

Gingerbread Almonds

Our family is blissfully saved from any sort of food allergy or food intolerance. Only once I became a foodie, who reads lots of blogs and meets lots of other foodies and who has friends that can be questioned about foods and allergies, I have become aware of many who want to or have to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, sugar, etc.
I always wonder where the allergy or intolerance may come from. Then I wonder how people live with cutting out a certain food or food group from their diet. This is where my challenge begins: I like to test yummy-sounding vegan foods, because they have no dairy. I like to make or bake something gluten free, to find out if gluten-allergic people can have a treat like every one else. I like to cook and bake without added sugar or with natural sugars only.
I find it very interesting that Northern and Western Europeans have a much lesser intolerance to lactose than native Americans, Mediterraneans and Asians. I wonder where nut allergies stem from and why the number of allergic people has increased so dramatically and if nut allergy and gluten intolerance are a Western phenomenon that will pick up in the rest of the world just a little later.
Here is my take on a gluten-free and low-carb snack. I love my nuts and the sky is the limit when I want to spice them up into either sweet, salty or spicy directions. I call them Gingerbread Almonds as I used the same spice mixture from my beloved Gingerbread Cookies: molasses combined with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Many spiced nuts recipes use big amounts of liquid sweeteners like honey or oil to make the spices stick to the nuts. It is quite a balance act to use the right amount. If you use to much the liquid will not evaporate enough and the nuts will remain very sticky.
A different way is to use egg whites. The results are wonderfully non-sticky spiced nuts. And healthy too. A great snack that keeps me happy at any time of the day (or night).

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GINGERBREAD ALMONDS

3 cups whole almonds

1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
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Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine all spices and mix well.
In a large bowl, beat the egg white lightly. Stir in the molasses. Then add spice mix and beat until well combined. Add nuts and stir until well and evenly coated with the spice egg white mixture. Spread almonds in one layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in airtight container.

6 comments:

  1. Oh Anja,this is fabulous! Exactly what I need right now...
    Thank you.

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  2. You should really check out some of the US Studies (all have been shut down of course) on genetically modified foods and allergies. There's a theory that's close to being proven that genetically modified foods seriously increase allergies and decrease fertility.

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  3. love this anja... i love spiced almonds. would like to try this out without the eggs.

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  4. This is very exciting. I love almonds and will love these gingerbread ones for a snacking.
    I often wonder about food intolerances and allergies too. IMHO many of them, especially gluten intolerance are from the way wheat is genetically altered nowadays to contain several times more gluten than only 10-15 years ago. That in combination with eating to many processed foods means we as Americans consume way to much gluten and soy product.

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  5. The almonds sound fantastic Anja, I usually use maple syrup to coat the almonds, sometimes a little cinnamon but I love that you included all the gingerbread flavours!

    As for allergies, I think genetically modified foods are definitely one of them but so is overexposure to certain ingredients, like peanuts (also read mold).

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