First attempt at smoked almonds.

I think smoked almonds are my favorite “healthful snack.” They’re high on the list if they aren’t number one. Their major drawback, as far as I’m concerned, is that they can be too salty and not smokey enough.

So, when Bill got me a smoker for Christmas, almonds were one of the first things I wanted to try out. I didn’t consider whether raw almonds are cheaper (though I assume they should be since there’s less processing to be done), or anything similar.

Monday, I tried them out. Like almost any kitchen(-related) appliance, the smoker came with directions and recipes. The smoked nuts recipe was nearly useless. It said to smoke them for an hour. No suggestion on kind of flavor. If I wanted them salted, I could either shake them with salt after, or soak them in salted water “a few minutes.”

Soooo… I kinda winged it. I mixed 2 tbs of salt into about 6 cups of cold water. I dumped a pound of nuts into the brine, then let them sit for five minutes. Then, along with hard-boiled eggs, I threw them in the smoker over hickory chips. Which I chose only because they were the chips I had open.

Now, doing the nuts with the eggs resulted in my cold-smoking them, as the eggs require a cold-smoke according to the smoker’s manual/cookbook. I cannot help but wonder if this was part of why the almonds came out the way they did.

See, they tasted extremely smokey, which I like. And they had just the right amount of salt, which surprised me on a single try. Unfortunately, their texture was compromised by the soak. They weren’t, exactly, mushy. But they weren’t right.

Which is a damn shame, because they tasted really good. I’m trying to figure out how to correct them, because I don’t want to eat them & neither did Bill. I decided I could turn them into smoked almond milk and flour if I had to, but felt that was getting weird and silly.

In an attempt to correct them, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and placed them in the lowest part of the oven, effectively trying to dry them the way I dry spent grain. After about a day, no change.

My next attempt was to oven-roast them. I’ll admit this was prompted by remembering that most smoked almonds are sold as “roasted, smoked almonds.” So I set the oven to 250F and left the almonds in there for awhile. Unfortunately, I got distracted with a writing group, so I don’t recall how long. A couple of hours, at least.

FORTUNATELY, it worked. Which is good, because you saw what my next attempt to make them edible was going to be and Bill was not a fan of that plan.

So, now that they’re crispy again, I’ll be snacking more. But next time, I’m going to try soaking them for less time, roasting them, then smoking them. Or I may wait to roast them until after they’re in a hot smoker. Unsure.

These guys are pretty good, at this point, but they need less smoke to them. I can’t believe I’m saying that. They also need more salt, which also surprises me, given I thought it was good when they were “mushy”. But that flavor has mellowed some, and I’d like more. Interestingly, Bill finds them about perfect now. So, maybe I’ll aim for this again, almost.

Yes. I think next time I’ll put a bit more salt in the same amount of water, for the same amount of time. Then “hot” smoke the almonds and see what I get.

But first? Smoking cheddar cheese. And tofu.