Appetizers / Dessert / Guilty Pleasures / Mailing Food / Salty Sweet / See Hatsie Giveaway / Signed and Sealed

Cook: {Signed and Sealed Part 1} Spicy Salty Caramel Almonds

Signed and sealed time!  Mailed treats time!  Decorating labels with gold tape and mason jars so I can put all of that Pinterest time to good use…time!  It’s the best time of the month, and as you can see, I’m excited.

It’s also called Part 1 because of that jar up there that says, very plainly and clearly so that there can be no mistake, “THIS IS DOG FOOD.”  More on those treats to come.  I’ll give you a bit longer to wonder just how much of an animal freak I am.

This month, which was last month, the treat went to my good friend and college roommate Anna and her little Westie, Gus.  Some of my favorite, favorite moments have been with Anna.  She’s all laughs and kindness and sincerity.  While I have to make New Year’s resolutions to be a better friend, Anna just is a good friend.  She calls, texts, and emails just to catch up.  She gives me updates on her life because she knows, correctly, that I want to know.  She’s a great friend and deserves lots and lots of treats in the mail, not just this one.

Our senior year she came home with a tiny little ball of white named Gus, who I fell madly in love with.  Gus learned how to be a dog from my cat, Tuna.  Tuna climbed on the back of couches, Gus climbed on the back of couches.  Tuna put his face through the blinds to look out the windows, Gus put his considerably furrier and larger face through the blinds to look out the windows.  He waited patiently every morning for Tuna to come out of my room then chased him around the rug for a good 5 minutes every single morning.  Tuna was unimpressed.  Gus is a character, for sure, and if Anna gets a treat, Gus gets one too!

I’m admittedly obsessed with anything that contains the words salted and caramel.  This month I decided to make some salted caramel almonds but spice them up a little with, well, spice.  Mostly sweet, slightly salty, with just a hint of spice at the end–these were crunchy and perfect.

Put them in an air-tight container and snack away.  Because this is {Signed and Sealed} I, of course, got crafty with my mason jars.

I made labels out of card stock, felt tip pen, and washi tape, then I tied them around the jars with twine.

Into a box they went bound for Texas.  I had an extra set so I also sent some to my brother and his wife in Ohio because they have 2 of my favorite puppies ever and I also like them too.

The almonds, though, the almonds.  They’re crunchy and have this wonderfully nutty roasted flavor.  The caramel is sweet but tempered by the slight salty touch and subtle spice.  The salt is necessary because the caramel would be too sweet without it.  However, the spice isn’t necessary.  But please don’t be afraid of the spice, it’s very subtle and really only nudges you at the end.  It’s great contrast.  Don’t skip it.

I’ll warn you though, you’ll want to give these away.  Maybe to a friend with a cute scruffy white dog!  Or to a neighbor.  I say this because while these were cooling I snuck so many nibbles I called it lunch instead of the sensible salad I had planned.

However, the best part about these almonds is that I got to send them to a sweet friend.  The picture she sent me made my whole day.  You’ll hear more about that later.

If you want a sweet treat for yourself or to send to someone who’s on your mind, this is it.

Spicy Salty Caramel Almonds (Adapted from Dine and Dish)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted almonds
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling later
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. Spread almonds on baking sheet in single layer.  Roast for 15 minutes.  When done, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup until melted over medium low heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, boiling gently, for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne pepper, and baking soda.  The mixture will bubble up for a second, this is normal.
  4. Add roasted almonds and stir to coat.  Reduce oven heat to 250 and spread caramel almonds on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.  Bake for 30 minutes, removing and stirring once at the 15 minute mark.
  5. When almonds are done, spread parchment paper out and add almonds in a single layer.  Let cool completely, until completely hard.  Break almonds into clumps and single almonds, or any combination you would like.
  6. Store in an air tight container for up to a month!
Enjoy!

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