Easy and healthy, this before-dinner nosh is adjustable in amount of seasoning. Serve with nonalcoholic beverages or a low-alcohol beer or apéritif wine, such as a sparkling wine, in order to produce a pleasing bit of spice without a burn.
- 4 tablespoons butter (or mix butter and olive oil to 4T)
- ¼ cup corn syrup, light preferred
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons each cumin and salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with foil. Place another large piece of foil in reserve for the end step.
Heat all ingredients except the almonds in a medium-sized heavy saucepan, stirring slowly and constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the almonds. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet with a wooden spoon.
Bake it for about 30 minutes, stirring once at about the halfway mark. During the last few minutes, watch the nuts carefully so you can pull the pan out as soon as they become light golden brown; if you leave them too long they will pick up a bitter taste. At the moment they’re done, use a wooden spoon to immediately spread them onto the clean foil and break up any that are stuck together.
Let cool completely and serve at room temperature. Make and store in an airtight container up to one week ahead of your Thanksgiving get-together.