I may or may not be slightly obsessed with five spice powder at the moment. I bought a bag of it from Penzeys Spices a few months ago and have been trying to work it in to new and different recipes. If you’ve never heard of Penzeys and you consider yourself a foodie, I urge you to check them out. They have an amazing selection of spices and spice blends, along with other flavourings, and their mail-order catalog makes for a great read. I was introduced to Penzeys by my sister-in-law, who gave me a gift card for my birthday a few years ago. I am almost ashamed to admit that it took me several years to use it. We were running low on a little jar of Penzeys chipotle powder that someone had given us and I couldn’t find anything comparable in local grocery stores. So I hopped online with my gift card and purchased a few items I knew weren’t readily available at local stores, including a bag of five spice powder.
I honestly don’t even know if I had ever tried Chinese Five Spice powder before my package arrived from Penzey’s. I’d certainly heard of it, and seen some interesting uses for it in the food-blogging world, but I really wasn’t sure how it smelled or tasted. So my senses were utterly assaulted, in a good way, when I opened up the bag and took a sniff. It’s hard to describe the smell of five spice, except to say that it is complex and exotic. It isn’t hot spicy in the way of chilies, but it is intense. The first thing I did with it was create a dry rub for chicken wings, and I thought they were delicious. I’ve used in a few other things and it always adds a wonderful new dimension to meats and savoury dishes. Since it’s made up of spices I typically associate with sweet tastes (cinnamon, anise, ginger and cloves), I thought it would be great a wonderful complement to lightly sweetened nuts.
One more little plug for Penzeys before I get to the results (and for the record, this is not a paid advertisement and I have not been contacted by the company, I just like their products!). They do have brick and mortar stores scattered around, but they are mostly a mail-order business. One lovely little thing about ordering from them is that they always include a sample-size jar of a new spice or spice blend for free. This go-round we got Turkish Seasoning. I haven’t tried it out yet but the package indicates that it’s good on lamb, beef or chicken, or mixed into yogurt as a sandwich spread. I am looking forward to trying it all of these ways!
The Results Long after these almonds were out of the oven, my house smelled warmly of Chinese Five Spice. They were delicious right out of the oven and I couldn’t really stop nibbling at them. Sadly, I think I overdid it. My stomach is still a little off from the strep and the antibiotics, and the thought of the Five Spice almonds is now too much to bear. Since I am feeling this way about some other foods, including my beloved peanut butter, I think it’s the illness and not the almonds themselves. As I said, I really loved them warm from the oven, so I’d definitely recommend them as a nice little cocktail nut with an exotic twist.
Five Spice Roasted Almonds
2 tsp erythritol (or white sugar if you aren’t low carb)
1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
1 egg white
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups almonds
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the erythritol, five spice powder and cayenne.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg white and water until frothy. Add almonds, tossing to coat thoroughly. Drain in a colander for 5 minutes.
Place drained almonds in a larger bowl and add melted butter. Toss to coat. Add spice mixture and toss thoroughly. Lay in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and very fragrant.
Let cool on pan for a few minutes before serving.