It’s about time we discussed Valentine’s Day! Grab your chocolate.
Honestly, I don’t care that this is a holiday designed to promote consumerism and concoct romance where perhaps none exists. I’m still enamored with it, and my unapologetically girly side is infatuated with every pink and red cookie recipe and DIY craft on Pinterest.
This year, I wanted to make something I could give as little gifts. At Christmas I had wanted to make something homemade for everyone at the office, and my big idea was to make some cocoa dusted almonds. As I often do, I waited until the last minute, then winged it on a recipe I Googled only to end up with an entire pan of sticky, ugly almonds with tiny pieces of aluminum foil stuck to them. They didn’t taste terrible, but I couldn’t be sure they were even safe to eat… unless you’re not worried about eating tiny pieces of aluminum foil.
So, I phoned it in – got everyone gift cards and temporarily gave up on the almonds. BUT, I still wanted to master this, and I thought Valentine’s Day would be a good opportunity to try again and bring everyone a little snack.
Obviously I wasn’t going to waste my time with the recipe I tried at Christmas, so I ended up reading lots of recipes on the web and then came up with a hybrid. Instead of making your run of the mill cocoa dusted almonds, I wanted something more fun, so I spiced it up a little bit and made a Mexican Hot Chocolate version. Why not spice things up for Valentine’s Day? Then I mixed them with Valentine M&Ms, and I was DELIGHTED. They’re beautiful, and just looking at them makes me happy 🙂
But everyone at the office is on a MAJOR health kick right now, so I don’t want to ruin everyone’s day with something that’s terrible for them to eat.
Healthy? I’m gonna give it a check.
A little fiber, a little protein, healthy fats, antioxidants… aaaaand a little bit of something sweet from the candy. I think we’re ok.
These were extraordinarily easy to make. The almonds toast in the oven for 10 minutes, and then after cooling completely they are tossed with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
I think this may need to become a Valentine’s Day tradition. (And maybe also a tradition for Arbor Day and MLK Day and Presidents’ Day… You get the idea.)
What I’m saying is… I really liked them, and I think I fully bounced back from my initial attempt/Pinterest fail.
Happy Valentine’s Weekend! xoxo – the llama
Mexican Hot Chocolate Almonds
- 1 c. raw almonds
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/8 c. cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/3 c. M&M’s candy
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix almonds and canola oil and spread evenly on a sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring once half-way through. After baking, let the almonds cool completely to room temperature. (I sped the cooling up by putting them in the freezer for a few minutes.)
In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Toss the cooled almonds with the cocoa powder mixture until evenly coated. Then mix with the candy pieces and enjoy 🙂