Honey-Cardamom Almonds

Warm and sweet, cardamom is a member of the ginger family. It is most often tasted in Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes and smelled in perfumes. Although it is somewhat stronger in seed form, I’m a big fan of it ground. Its flavor is definitely prevalent and yet not overpowering in these slightly sticky, slightly peppery, slightly sweet almonds. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell what the spices are. I suggest you leave your guests guessing. Serve these alongside sliced oranges.

Make 2 cups.

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1½ to 2 teaspoons ground cardamom, to taste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup honey
2 cups raw whole almonds, blanched or skin on

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the sugar, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.

3. Place the honey in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring all the while, until most of the honey has been absorbed by the almonds and any remaining honey is a deep amber color, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Remove the almonds from the heat, add a small amount of the sugar mixture to the almonds, and toss. Add the remaining sugar mixture, a little bit at a time, and toss with the almonds until all the mixture has been used.

5. Transfer the almonds to the prepared sheet and arrange in a single layer; separate the almonds with a fork or your hands. Set aside and cool before serving.

Not just for snacking: Chop them up and sprinkle over winter squash soup.

From Party Nuts! 50 Recipes for Spicy, Sweet, Savory, and Simply Sensational Nuts That Will Be the Hit of Any Gathering (The Harvard Common Press, 2002)