Recipe courtesy of Carla Hall

Sweet and Spicy Almonds

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 8 to 12 servings
Both of my grandmothers always had fresh whole mixed nuts ready for guests around the holidays. When I started catering, I changed those nuts to these!



  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Arrange the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until fragrant and toasted, tossing halfway through, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, line a separate baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large cast-iron skillet, add the sugar, 3/4 cup water, the vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt and the cooled nuts, stirring to combine. Place over medium heat and cook until the sugar crystallizes on the outside of the nuts and the mixture becomes dry, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and allow some of the sugar to dissolve. Stir continuously, coating the nuts in the melted sugar at the bottom of the pan while still keeping the drier sugar crystals on the outside of the nuts — moving the pan on and off the heat will help to keep the caramel from burning but still allow the crystallization! Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cayenne and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spread into an even layer and allow to completely cool. Break the nuts into clumps and serve.