Wednesday, December 1, 2010

spicy cajun almonds

You know when you go to a party and you see a little dish of interesting-looking nuts?

And you will yourself not to be disappointed, because so often party nuts are a disappointment? Because so often they’re too salty or too greasy or too synthetic tasting?

But you keep trying the party nuts because you remember that once you ate the perfect party nut and it was crunchy and salty and slightly sweet and altogether the best thing you ate that night?

These are those nuts. The nuts you have been longing for: a hint of sweet and salty, a kick of pepper, and a resounding crunch.

They come from my old colleague Judy in Ottawa. Judy gave me a little bag of these nuts as a Christmas present and I immediately begged her for the recipe. She obliged, and says they are the best spiced nuts she’s ever made. Judy says she found the recipe in the Ottawa Citizen about 20 years ago.

The recipe is simple and you can see how very happy the almonds are to be wearing such a lovely, tasty coating. Thank you, mystery Ottawa Citizen recipe writer!

spicy cajun almonds

2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. corn syrup
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce, or less
1 lb. (454 g.) almonds, skins on

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients except almonds in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

Turn off heat. Add almonds and stir to coat well. Spread over prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.

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