Candied Spiced Almonds

Over the next three days I’ll be sharing a treasure of what I call,  Little Black Dress recipes – versatile and economical, simple and savvy….invaluable on their own and fabulous combined for a Christmas lunch, a family brunch or a fun casual dinner – Oh, and did I mention delicious?…………

With these three recipes in your holiday arsenal you will be ready for all sorts of special occasions. Today’s recipe for Caramelized Sea Salted Almonds is perfect as a simple (addictive) appetizer, wonderful in a pretty package for a hostess gift, incredible on top of oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream or _______ . You fill in the blank! I am using a handful of them this week as a beautiful crunchy, golden topping for my Cranberry-Avocado Winter Salad, (tomorrow’s recipe!) but they certainly would add a gourmet touch to any salad.

Candied Spiced Almonds

Ingredients:

5 cups sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package*
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin*
1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* – some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don’t like “hot”, just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt
*The cumin and the smoked paprika give just a hint of mysterious, delicious flavor – even though these are savory spices, these almonds are still wonderful served with sweets like ice cream or yogurt.

Directions:
1. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.

2.  Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.

3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.

4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool.

Try not to eat too many or you won’t have any to give away!’m not telling you this from experience or anything like that! :)*If you have a Costco membership, they recently started carrying 2 pound bags of beautiful sliced almonds for $7.99 – a great deal as nuts have become extremely expensive! Get some fun little jars or containers and at this price, you could give a nice-sized gift (about a quarter pound) of these yummy, addictive almonds for
just slightly more than a dollar!



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