A few months back I was sitting on the sidelines of a soccer game when a dad I didn’t recognize held out a bag of Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds: two of my favorite foods under one proverbial roof. I went in big and the nuts didn’t disappoint. Without realizing it, I had commandeered the bag and taken down well more than my fair share. I apologized to the dad, who I later learned was actually someone’s very congenial uncle (who hasn’t brought snacks to the games since.

With the embarrassment of the “nut incident” behind me, I headed to the market to track those babies down, only to learn they weren’t as wholesome as I’d assumed. Indeed, they were artificially flavored and contained two different artificial sweeteners. Bummer.

Committed to the idea of a cocoa covered almond, I decided to make them myself. The result? A crunchy, toasted nut lightly coated in cocoa powder with just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth. My kids have been enjoying them in their lunchboxes and I’ve found my new afternoon pick-me-up.

As for that kindly uncle, perhaps I’ll bake him a batch. I’d like him to know that soccer moms can be generous in addition to being greedy.

Cocoa Dusted Almonds

Servings 2 cups


  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sweetened cocoa powder (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 pinches salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Put the almonds in a large, shallow bowl and drizzle with the oil. Use your hands to coat the almonds in the oil. Sprinkle the sweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt over the almonds and toss them in the bowl until all of the almonds are lightly dusted with cocoa. You can do this by holding the bowl on either side and tossing the almonds in the air or using a rubber spatula to scoop underneath the almonds and turn them over. It takes a good 10 or more turns to adequately coat the almonds.
  3. Pour the almonds onto 2 baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper. Bake until toasted, 15 to 20 minutes. When you start to really smell the almonds, they are probably done.
  4. Cool and store in a container with a tight lid.

Recipe Notes

Use sweetened cocoa powder with sugar and cocoa, not hot cocoa mix with dried milk powder.