I hope this post finds you in time for any last minute snack or munchie ideas you might need for the holidays, because these almonds are fantastic and dead simple to make. I had them at a friend’s home–she encouraged me to try them, so I did. At first I kinda just thought oh a sugared almond. But then I found myself craving another one. And another one. And another. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy, these are simply addictive.
You begin by toasting the almonds. Since I knew I wanted some to set out on Christmas Day when my family visits–and since I knew I would eat plenty until then–I made a triple batch (made easier by having a convection oven, I admit, allowing me to toast all 3 trays at once).
Then the almonds are dunked in a mixture of oil, water and honey that is dissolved and hot on the stovetop. The evenly wet/sticky almonds are dumped–without additional “juice” from the pot–into a sugar, salt and cayenne pepper mixture (I’d love to try chipotle next time).
Then the nuts are spread out in a single layer to cool and dry (they will crisp as they do so). I had to layer my counter in foil since I had made a triple batch and the pans were too hot to place on the counter (someday I’ll get that heat proof granite… someday…). You can find the exact recipe at Martha Stewart Everyday Food.
Even Alex–she who dislikes all things spicy–cannot stay out of these. The heat is definitely present–she eats them with milk–but for most adults I would say the heat is gentle, just perfect. And the cayenne is definitively noticeable as a flavor too–in a good way. These might become a standard roatation not just for the holidays recipe around here!