Disclosure: I received Power BBQ Rub in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and my own.
The other day, I was digging through the fridge for dinner ingredients. We do follow a meal plan, but sometimes it derails and sometimes my recipes still require a little creativity.
For example, I started getting requests for more salads. First they want vegetables and now they want salads? Pssh!
Really, I like the idea. It’s nice to have something light and refreshing alongside your appetizer, but I have this one problem.
And that problem is that I forget about things in the fridge.
Like boxes of organic salad greens that are slowly decomposing.
After working as an actual salad maker (okay, the “pantry” person) in a restaurant, my nose developed this utter repugnance for even slightly decayed greens. They get this…footy smell. I don’t know if anyone else really notices it, but I do.
It’s like your spinach greens finally decayed one half life, and now they must give off another layer of radiation.
To combat this, I decided we do one “big salad” night towards the end of the week. I’d soak whatever greens remained after mini salads throughout the week in some cool water, and I’d use my fancy stinky-spinach detector (my nose) to absolve the other greens of such a fate.
Shh, I’m hunting for leftovers…
You start digging around for toppings. Since everyone here has drastically different preferences, I opted to making a little salad bar replete with little bowls full of loveliness like rehydrated cranberries, finely chopped bacon, sliced apples or pears, shredded carrots, a wedge of blue cheese…really anything that might pair well. It’s also great for that last bit of roasted butternut squash that isn’t enough for another dish but is too much to toss out.
But, you still need something warm or something a little special. Something that requires a little more attention to detail than merely peeling, grating, or slicing.
That’s why I started making these candied almonds. Firstly, they’re simple. Secondly, they’re amazingly delicious. Thirdly, they help pair disparate salad topping flavors like wallflowers at a school dance. All it takes is one taste, and the other flavors start to liven up.
The trick to this recipe is the spice blend. It’s not just curry and honey, two great flavor companions, but I also added a special spice mix that really pulls everything together with its blend of smoked paprika, cocoa powder, cumin, and other spices.
Smoky Honey Curried Candied Almonds
- 1 tbs of butter, lard, tallow, or coconut oil
- 1 tbs of raw honey
- 1 tsp of organic brown sugar (used to help create a hard candy crust; if excluded, use more honey)
- One full pinch of sea salt
- Approx 1/4 tsp of curry powder (a small shake)
- 1/2 tsp of Power BBQ Rub
- 1/2 cup of almonds (approximately one handful)
- 1 tbs or one full pinch of shredded coconut (optional, for texture)
How to Make Candied Almonds
- The process is rather simple and as always, my recipe is quite haphazard. Basically, take your cooking fat and melt it over medium-low heat (I used a 4 on a scale of 10). Once it melts, add in your sugar, honey, and spices. Stir well, and increase heat a tiny bit (like 4.5 or max 5).
- Meanwhile, chop almonds. I like using chopped almonds because it makes a small bunch of something go further, and you’re not chomping on mega nuts. It’s also fun to chop almonds, so I will continue doing that.
- Once you start to see the butter and sugar integrate, it will sort of puff and bubble slowly. There will be a noticeable thickening. Add the chopped almonds, and stir to coat. You’ll definitely need to babysit this as too high a heat will burn both the almonds and caramel.
- Keep stirring until the caramel stops staying integrated as a liquid. You’ll stir and instead of it pouring back away, it will stay close to the almonds. This is a sign that they are hardening. I added a note below about how the different sweeteners interact, but just using honey may result in not-hard candied almonds. They’re still delicious, but not hardened.
- Once you’ve determined that your almonds are candied, carefully pour them out onto a butter pan, wax paper, aluminum foil, silicone baking sheet, or something else that won’t stick. Since I have no silicone baking sheets (preference), I use aluminum foil as I’ve found it makes for the easiest removal ever.
- Allow the almonds to cool, then pour into your mouth, onto salads, atop of ice cream, or wherever else you think they’d go well. That’s it!
Spice is nice
Honestly, I’m a huge fan of this spice mix. At first, I thought it would only work for things like barbecue sauces and roasts, which it does and very well. But then I realized that the unique blend of spices suited both sweet and savory preparations. In fact, it was the perfect pairing, a natural flavor segue, for a variety of dishes.
Yes, it is THAT good.
We use it in our house for eggs, fries, baked potatoes, candied almonds, marinades, popcorn, and more. It doesn’t need to be cooked for the flavors to release like many spice rubs, so it works well even directly out of the jar. Plus, all of the ingredients are known “superfoods”.
However if you do not have any Power Rub in your kitchen, you can substitute a little bit of smoked paprika with cocoa powder.
Since I know many of you are working to reduce their use of any sugars, even organic unrefined ones, I opted to use raw honey for this. Some say that raw honey can increase toxicity when heated, so do whatever you feel comfortable with. I normally use a blend of honey and a little raw brown sugar for a perfect crystallization. My honey-only attempts weren’t as candied as normal, but they’re still lovely, lovely, lovely.
Do you like candied nuts? Have you ever made them at home? Tell me below!