Friday, November 26, 2010

Roasted, spicy almonds...just in case

Around the holidays, I like to have a few things on hand that I can set out when folks drop by, which, admittedly, doesn't happen all that often. But what does happen pretty often is that I'll be running late starting supper and will need to set out a snack of some sort to keep the hungry hordes at bay. Things like carrots and ranch dressing, or maybe cheese and crackers are year-round players. In the late fall, I buy bags of raw almonds or walnuts or pecans and make spicy roasted nuts to set out on the counter. (Cheese wafers are another standby - look for that recipe soon.)

I make these nuts in my wok skillet, which is roomy and just right for glazing bunches of almonds. This recipe can be used with walnuts or pecans, too.

Roasted Spicy Almonds with Rum Glaze

The spice mix is variable according to your taste. If you only have cinnamon, that will work. If you're out of rum extract or rum, just increase the vanilla.

2 cups raw almonds

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon rum or rum extract

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread almonds on baking sheet and toast for about five minutes, jiggling the pan midway through to ensure even toastiness.

2. While nuts are in the oven, stir together two tablespoons brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a medium bowl.

3. Put wok pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add vanilla and rum and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. Remove nuts from oven and pour into wok. Stir until glossy and warm, about five minutes. Pour glazed nuts into spice mix; toss, then spread on parchment-lined cookie sheet to cool.

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