“Might as well the way I am.”
That’s my Dad’s customary response when offered a second helping, another slice of pie, just one more cookie.
Whether accompanied with contrition or, more often, by an appreciative grin, his words reflect the wisdom of 80 years.
So near the end of the holiday season, perhaps the rest of us might benefit from similar acceptance.
After all, the damage is already done: nearly all the holiday parties and family gatherings, buffets and dinners are behind us.
Besides, January 2 and the inevitable extra cycles on the Stairmaster will arrive soon enough.
So add these festive almonds to your New Year’s celebration fare. They pack an addictive bite along with (okay, feel virtuous, starting now!) protein and fiber. If you can, keep from tasting the candied pepper bits that fall from the nuts!
We might as well, the way we are.
BLACK PEPPER ALMONDS
Time to table: 75 minutes
Makes 4 cups
- Butter for foil
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons water
- 4 cups (1 pound) whole almonds, skins on
- 1 tablespoon black pepper (freshly ground pepper for up-front pepper heat, commercially ground pepper for background bite)
- 2 teaspoons table salt
Preheat oven to 300F. Line one or two rimmed baking sheets with lightly buttered foil.
Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet on medium heat. Add the brown sugar and water, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the almonds, pepper and salt. Cook at a fast bubble for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Spread nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet(s). Bake for 30 minutes or until the nuts turn a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit, then separate the nuts into individual pieces. Keep separating the nuts until they’re fully cooled and dried. If nuts are sticky, store in frig.
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