Carrie's Spicy Sugared Cocktail Almonds
Our friends Kit and Carrie are great and frequent entertainers. One of their secrets is that they always have some interesting nibbles available when drinks are about. Since they've been doing this for a long time, and getting better and better at it every year, from the evidence, they've accumulated a nice little list of regular offerings. Their spicy nuts, especially nice in the winter with a fire going and Christmas lights glowing but just as good in August, is one of my favorites so last year I asked Carrie for the recipe, which she generously provided. A couple of days ago I made a version of this classic, with some raw cashews I had in the kitchen instead of the almonds Carrie uses (pictured). They were good but I think the original recipe (with almonds) is better so that's what I've reproduced below (with Carrie's permission).
3 T peanut, olive or other oil
3 C whole blanched almonds
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 T additional sugar
Heat oil in heavy pan over medium heat. Add almonds and sprinkle 1/2 C sugar over them. Sauté until the almonds become golden brown and the sugar caramelizes. Remove almonds from pan and toss in a bowl with salt, cumin, pepper flakes and the additional sugar. Spread on a plate to cool, then toss again before serving to separate any nuts that become stuck together while cooling.
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