Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My mother-in-law's spicy almonds

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I am blessed with wonderful in-laws. When my husband and I telephoned to tell them that we were engaged, they welcomed me to the family and, in their extremely Hungarian way, gave me a nickname: Other Daughter. After more than 14 years of marriage, they are my Other Parents, and I feel as much like their daughter as a daughter-in-law can feel. Lucky, lucky, lucky all around.

My husband and I have known each other 18 years, and most of those Decembers we have spent the holiday week with his parents. The extended family collects for a secular Christmas celebration, and both my mother-in-law and her cousin bake spectacular traditional Hungarian pastries.

I have realized over the years that I will never be Hungarian - I don't have enough of a sweet tooth. The pastries are beautiful, but what I look forward to every year are my mother-in-law's spicy almonds. They're caramelized in sugar and then tossed with cumin, cayenne and salt. This year I took the bag marked "very spicy" and hoarded it. Seriously, I hid it in my purse for several days so no one else would find them. And what a surprise!, now they're mostly gone. Good thing almonds are so healthy. (I'll just ignore the fact that they're encased in pure sugar, thank you very much.)

My mother-in-law's spicy almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 cups raw almonds
Line a sheet pan with foil. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, salt, cayenne and 1 Tbsp sugar. Sprinkle half of this mixture on the foil-lined pan.

Put the almonds and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Shake the pan and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon as the sugar melts and the nuts toast. Pay attention, because the sugar will go from caramelized to burned extremely quickly. When the sugar is a dark amber color, quickly pour the almond mixture onto the foil, then sprinkle over the rest of the spice mixture. Pick up the ends of the foil to distribute the spices over the nuts.

Working quickly, separate the nuts on the foil, then let them cool. They will harden as they cool down. Store in an airtight container. Share with your friends and family, if you can bear it.

10 comments:

Marly said...

These look so good! Love the spices involved here!

BonnieBanters said...

Yum! I have to try these - Thanks!

Marjie said...

Almonds were known to be best when you're on diet cause they fill you up quick and keeps it like that for a few hours. This recipe is awesome...gotta try this sometime =)

SunnyGurl said...

I have all of the ingredients at home already. Hope to try this recipe soon. Thanks for sharing!

Rhonda said...

I love nuts, I love spicy nuts, I love sweet nuts..I'm nuts for this sweet and spicy recipe!

Nancy said...

I understand your problem Erika ... I have a thing for nuts and these are exactly the kind I love. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful "second family"!!

Caren Gittleman said...

these look and sound soooo delicious and so easy!! Yum!

Megan said...

Luv spiced nuts and can always use a new recipe!

Lentil Breakdown said...

Uh oh. Nuts are my weakness. Clicking out now!

Monet said...

I'm sure they feel blessed to have such an amazing daughter-in-law. I love spiced nuts, and these look and sound so very good. Thank you for sharing another great recipe. Many blessings tomorrow and in the days to come!

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