We’ll be celebrating today, and what’s a celebration without ice cream? We agree, so we made up a batch of chocolate ice cream, but with some added almonds. Not just any almonds, though; these almonds are a bit spicy, yet sweet, something a little bit smokey but still salty, something that will bring out the chocolate flavor of the ice cream. And, while we’re making our own ice cream, you could always just use these almonds as a topping for commercial ice cream. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you don’t scratch out homemade ice cream every time.
If you’re interested, the ice cream we’re making is the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream, but, we’re leaving out the chunks of chocolate added at the end, and stirring in these almonds in their place.
The chipotle powder (smoked jalapenos) adds the spicy heat and smoked paprika adds more smoky flavor. If you don’t have these, you might try using a small amount of cayenne pepper (which is hotter than chipotle), along with a bit of liquid smoke. You can chop the almonds, if you wish, but we didn’t bother.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment so you don’t spend a bunch of time scrubbing off crusty sugar afterwards.
Toast almonds. Place the almonds on the prepared sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring once or twice, until toasted, 10 minutes. Watch them while baking, and, if they seem to be toasting too quickly, remove them from the oven earlier. Burnt nuts do not make tasty nuts.
Make coating. While the nuts are toasting, stir together brown sugar, chipotle, smoked paprika, salt, and water until you have a slurry. Just let it sit while the nuts finish up.
Coat nuts. While the nuts are hot, pour them into the bowl — we just pick up the parchment and slide the almonds right in — and stir until well coated.
Bake. Spoon out the almonds, draining off the excess coating, and place them back on the baking sheet. Continue baking, again stirring once or twice, until the almonds have a hard, thin, candy shell, about 15 minutes.
Cool. Transfer the almonds to a plate to cool completely. They’ll still be a little sticky when hot, so stir them around from time to time to break up any clumps.
Stir into ice cream. If you’re making ice cream, stir them in once churning is over. If you’re using commercial ice cream, you can use them as a tasty topping. If you’re foregoing ice cream, you can just eat them as a snack.
These are so easy that anyone can make them. Plus, they’re tasty. As promised, they’re a bit spicy, a bit sweet, and a bit smoky, and pair well with ice cream. Especially chocolate ice cream. The only thing that we’ll warn you about is too much “taste-testing” after they’re out of the oven. One of us would try one, then another, and another, until we finally put them away and hid them in the freezer. Five stars.