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With the beautiful weather were having here in Seattle, comes
hiking and outdoor adventures. Usually, instead of buying fancy trail mixes
that cost anywhere from $6-$10 per pound, I make my own. With a stocked “nut
& seed box” in my fridge, I always have something tasty to throw in the
mix, whether its raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or cashews. Then I add
a handful of dried fruit, and sometimes some chocolate chips, and voila, you
have your own fancy trail mix. However, plain nuts and seeds can also get a little
dull and to make things more interesting, I decided to make roasted spiced
maple almonds to add a little bit more “pow” into each bite. They turned out so
good, I might just snack on these alone or sprinkle them onto salads,
porridges, or anything really! Besides
tasting amazing, your kitchen will smell fantastic too.
With maple syrup as a sweetener, sesame seeds for extra
texture and flavor, and different spices to add the “pow”to my raw almonds, they turned out perfect.
And of course, there is also a touch of sea salt that always takes everything to the
next level. Roasted spiced maple almonds make it easy to choose the healthy snack option. Here is why:
Sesame Seeds: For many years sesame seeds have been used as
a food to prevent aging, and supply hearty energy. Interestingly, the
antioxidant y-tocopherol (a vitamin E compound), which has been touted with
many of the health benefits of sesame seeds, is found to increase after
roasting. In a recent study, researchers found that both γ-tocopherol and total
phenolic compounds increased significantly with roasting temperature and time,
up until 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes (1). Besides being rich in
bioactives and vitamin E, the seeds themselves contain high levels of minerals
including copper, calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium all of which play vital
roles in the body. Copper for instance is known to aid those suffering from
Rheumatoid Arthritis, by helping to reduce pain and swelling, while zinc can
help boost the immune system and aid in cellular regeneration (2).
Almonds: Also rich in vitamin E and minerals, almonds are
more commonly found in the diets of Americans and have been studied often. In
the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a 2013 study found that almonds
eaten as snacks helped reduce post-meal blood sugar, reduce hunger and
appetite, and reduce overall energy intake throughout the day. In addition,
because almonds are so nutrient dense, all participants met their daily recommended
dietary monounsaturated fat and vitamin E intakes. Overall the study found that
eating 43g of almonds (a little more than ¼ cup) as a snack helps regulate body
weight, while offering many health benefits (3).
Since this recipe is really easy to make I decided to make
two batches, each with a different spice. In the first, I used cardamom and in
the second, I used a madras curry blend from Feasting At Home. Cinnamon can
also be used, however, I encourage you to try something different, you never
know what you might uncover!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together all the
ingredients and evenly spread onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for
10-12 minutes. Allow to cool. You should now be able to easily break apart the
nuts without them feeling sticky. Store in an airtight container.
1. Jannat B, Mohammad R, Naficeh S, et al. Effect of
Roasting Process on Total Phenolic Compounds and γ-tocopherol Contents of
Iranian Sesame Seeds (Sesamum indicum). Iran
J Pharm Res. 2013;12(4):751-758.