Black Pepper Almonds

Black Pepper Almonds

“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.

ALANNA’S TIPS Black Pepper Almonds are an easy make-ahead or last-minute addition to party tables. Once they’re out of the oven, the trick is to keep the warm and still-sticky nuts from gluing together (and onto whatever they touch) as they cool and dry. Tupperware and well-buttered foil work, parchment would too.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe for party nuts to e-mail.

BLACK PEPPER ALMONDS

Deliciously addictive!
Active attention: 10 minutes to start, 15 minutes to finish
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.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per 1/8 cup (about 10 nuts): 101 Cal (63% from Fat); 7g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 150mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

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Alanna,
They do sound addictive!

And as for your father's "might as well philosophy," did you notice I've been making pancetta, lard, and pork confit.{g}

12/30/2006
 
I have a good friend who loves to buy these at the KC Nut house. It would be such a treat to make these for her. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

12/30/2006
 
These would definitely be a "can't-stop-at-one" type food! Happy new year! :)

1/03/2007
 
Merry Christmas ! Just made the Pepper almonds this morning (first time)and they will be loved by all _ if there's any left when family gets here. thank you for all your recipes.
May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and may we all have a peaceful New Year

Bobbi
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna