Toasted nuts are a great addition to almost any recipe that calls for nuts, as they bring so much more to the recipe than their untoasted counterparts do. Toasting nuts enhances their flavor by bringing out their natural oils, and it enhances their texture by making them crisper than they otherwise would be. Usually, nuts are given a quick toast in a pan or in the oven on high heat to brown the before going in with the rest of the ingredients. This will crisp them up and bring out their flavor, but it won’t do as good of a job as slow roasting your nuts, which ensures a better finished toast and a more delicious nut.
For this post, I’m focusing on almonds. Almonds are a nut that really benefits from a long, slow roast. They’re also extremely versatile, so you can chop the nuts for a recipe or eat them as-is once they’ve been toasted. Almonds usually have a brown skin on them. You can toast them with the skin or peel them first, the choice is yours and should be based on how you want your nuts to look when you’re done toasting them. Here is how to do it:
First, preheat your oven to 275F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking (optional, but I always do).
Second, place the nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast them for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so (in case you have hot spots).
Third, check the nuts for doneness. A well-toasted almond should be evenly browned throughout the nut, not just around the outside edge. Take a nut and cut it in half. If the nut is evenly browned, they’re ready to be removed from the oven and allowed to cool. If the center of the nut has not yet been toasted, put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Bake until done.
The nuts will not seem crunchy when they are hot, but will crisp up as they cool down. Peeled almonds will turn a golden brown all over, but cutting the nuts in half is the best way to see if they are evenly cooked. This method can be used with pieces of almonds, as well, but the baking time will likely be shorter. I usually toast a big batch and store the nuts in an airtight container so they are ready for use at a later time.