Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paprika Candied Almonds

A few weeks ago, while enjoying a great dinner as part of a girls night, I ate the most wonderful paprika almonds. They were wonderfully salty, rich in a smoky paprika, and coloured the most perfect red. We devoured them. Then we went to a movie. Then I went home.

And then I dreamed of smoky paprika almonds. 

I adapted my recipe from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from another source as well. While I kept the sugar ratios similar, I increased the spices significantly... even sprinkling a bit of extra paprika on some of the cooling nuts afterwards.

These were ridiculously addictive. I don't know how often I can make them and have them in my house. I don't have overwhelming needs to eat all of the chocolate in the house or finish the bag of chips or spoon or spoon and spoon until I reach the bottom of the ice cream tub. I like a treat, then can typically put it away and carry on. These nuts ruined me for that. I would eat one, then two, then another five, then another handful... I. Could. Not. Stop.

And I'm okay with that. I think you'll be okay with that as well. 

4 cups almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cups white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika (we are spoiled with Silk Road Spice Merchant in Calgary and found our smoked paprika there)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons maldon salt or, if you have it, smoked maldon salt
1 egg white
Splash of water

Prep two baking sheets with parchment lining and heat your oven to 300 F. (When making these recently in Argentina, we reduced the oven temperature by 25 F and watched them much more closely. The sugar seemed to melt quite quickly and rather than risk burning the lot, we opted to check the nuts more frequently and took them out 5 minutes early.)

Combine your sugar and spices in a large bowl (you're going to end up mixing everything in here, so you'll want to plan accordingly).

Separate your egg yolk from white. You only need the white here, so you can reserve the yolk for some other use (maybe as an egg wash on something pastry like... hmmm). Add the white to another good sized bowl with a splash of water, then whisk until frothy. Just a minute or two of good whisking here. 

Toss your almonds in the frothy white, then transfer and toss with your spice mix.

Spread the nuts on the parchment lined baking sheets and put them in the oven. Set your timer for 10 minutes to remind you to stir and flip the nuts. Repeat in another 10 minutes. Be cautious and be sure to check the nuts frequently. The nuts can quickly go from roasting nicely to burned and inedible. Better to err on the side of caution than find yourself pitching them into the trash.

Let nuts cool on the baking sheets and break apart any big sugary-nutty chunks. Once cool, transfer to a bowl or mason jars for sharing. 

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