Spiced Candied Nuts

Sweet and Spicy Holiday nuts

Until I moved into this neighborhood, I wasn’t a huge fan of Halloween – love Christmas, love Thanksgiving, but I considered Halloween to be one of the lesser holidays – like President’s Day. Of course, I only assigned it its second-class designation after I outgrew trick-or-treating. However, Halloween is a big event around here. In my old neighborhood, we were lucky to see two or three kids all night. This place is hoppin’. We get large gaggles of costumed candy beggars throughout the night. It’s fun and festive and I can’t imagine shutting the drapes, turning off the lights and not partaking.

It takes eight bags of candy to ensure I’ll have enough to last the night. Eight bags purchased the week before the actual holiday. Eight bags of Reese’s, Jr. Mints, Twix, Paydays and Almond Joys stashed in my pantry…texting me for a booty call each night until the 31st saying, “just eat a few of us; we’re fun sized; we won’t side-track your diet.” Yeah, right.

I have no will-power and the recent tightness of my jeans is a physical reminder of that fact. If there’s sinful food in my house, it goes in my mouth. Eight bags of my favorite candy is a feeding orgy I don’t want to participate in this year. So, as counter measures, I’m waiting until the very last second to buy candy. I also made these slightly sweet, salty, spicy almonds for my personal snacking pleasure, ensuring I keep my fingers out of the candy bowl.


Spiced Candied Almonds

I used the nuts and spices I had on hand, but feel free to substitute your favorites.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups raw nuts (I used almonds)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons assorted spices (I used 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice, ⅛ teaspoon cardamom and ⅛ teaspoon urfa chile for heat)
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and spices. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the nuts and spiced sugar to the egg whites and stir until nuts are evenly coated. Spread out the nuts on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  2. 2.Remove from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt (if using) and allow the nuts cool on the baking sheet.

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Goat cheese with candied almonds

a plate of goat cheese crusted with candied almonds and surrounded by crackers
Today is the first official day of my mid-life gap year. To start, I overslept and then failed to attend a 10:30 a.m. yoga class. Not an encouraging start to a year that’s supposed to change my life. I did, however, manage a walk around the neighborhood and took a shower. I remember reading somewhere that you should take a shower every day to avoid sinking into depression. Well, I managed that, at least.  Also, there’s an electrician here repairing lighting issues I’ve been meaning to get to for a few years. All-in-all, not a bad first day.

This recipe is based on a goat cheese appetizer we devoured during an Innkeeper seminar last week in Asheville (Yes, I’m considering Innkeeping as my next adventure.)


Goat Cheese with Candied Almonds


Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 log goat cheese

Directions

  1. Melt sugar in a skillet over medium-low heat without stirring. Sugar syrup should be tan to golden brown once melted.
  2. Add sliced almonds and stir to coat almonds well. Remove from heat and spread almonds on a silicone mat, sheet pan, or parchment paper to cool completely.
  3. Crush almonds using a rolling pin or food processor until crumbs are a bit smaller than pea sized.
  4. Roll goat cheese in candied almond crumbs, pressing crumbs on as needed until cheese is well coated. Serve with crackers or toast slices.