What’s Cookin’ – Cocoa Dusted Almonds (Gluten Free)

In my earlier What’s Cookin’ post on Orange Creme Brulee, one of the garnishes was cocoa dusted almonds.  I was trying to replicate a dessert that I had at a restaurant that was truly one of the top 10 best desserts that I have ever eaten.

Well, one thing led to another and, while I got the main recipe down, I could not find cocoa dusted almonds in the store.  They probably would have been very expensive anyway.  So I had to improvise and make my own.

After research, this is what I came up with.

Cocoa Dusted Almonds ingredients.

Prepare a 9×13 jelly roll pan by lining with a sheet of parchment paper and coating with cooking spray.  Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and salt.  Add the almonds and stir until well coated.

I used the microwave oven to melt the butter, but you can also use a saucepan.  You want the butter just melted not hot or browned.

Pour the almonds into a single layer onto your prepared pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes stirring every two to three minutes to prevent burning and sticking.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes.

Once cooled, but while still slightly warm, toss the almonds in a bag with the unsweetened cocoa.  Pour them back out onto a clean container to cool completely.  Once cooled, store in a container with a tightly fitted lid.

I actually tossed my almonds twice so that they had a thick coat of cocoa.  Since the cocoa is unsweetened, these are not overly sweet.  They were a perfect garnish for my Orange Creme Brulee, however.  They are good enough to eat on their own, but you could make them a little sweeter by adding a little more sugar.

Ready to eat or use as a garnish.

I ended up using a variation of several recipes that I found in my research.  My goal was to use standard ingredients and not have to go out to buy something not commonly found in the pantry.  For instance, one recipe called for using Agave Nectar and one used Splenda (I do have Splenda in my kitchen, but I recognize that many people may not).  Another recipe called for using maple syrup which would be good, but, again, my goal was to use these as a garnish to complement another dish so I did not want to use a competing flavor like maple.

Orange Creme Brulee with Cocoa Dusted Almonds, Orange Segment, and Mint.

The point is, sometimes we need to improvise to get what we need.  This particular improvisation turned out yummy.

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