Spring is such a tease. Last weekend was two glorious days of sleeping in just enough to make it feel like not a work day, getting out of town, and hiking in the sun. But with Monday came the rain, and it hasn’t let up since. And it’s spring rain, which is way worse than winter rain, if you ask me. It’s completely unpredictable. It’s considerably more violent. But on the plus side, spring is the only season where you can hike one day and ski the next.
No matter what fun things await you this spring, these almonds are the perfect snack to stash in your backpack. They’re sweet enough to satisfy your regular weekday afternoon sugar craving, which likes to make weekend appearances too. But they have a definite spicy kick too. It’s just like the sun/rain mix that comes with spring.
These almonds take about 10 minutes from start to finish. There the perfect thing to snack on this spring and they won’t keep you from the sun that’s finally here.
Sweet and Spicy Candied Almonds
From Spoon Fork Bacon
2 cups raw whole almons
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and toss until almonds are thoroughly coated.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the almonds evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them at the end, there’s a fine line between nicely toasted and completely burned.
Remove almonds from oven and allow to cool completely. A hard glaze will form. Serve or store in an airtight container for a few days, if you can get them to last that long.
I wasn’t going to post a recipe for the Super Bowl. Even though I get way too enthusiastic about college football (but still don’t really know much about it – how do people learn all the names and statistics and referee hand signals anyway?), professional football isn’t really my thing. But I have to admit, I did feel a little guilty not doing something Super Bowl-y when it’s the team from my hometown (go Broncos!) and the team most people root for where I live now. Which is the first reason I decided I should make something for the Super Bowl. Although I still haven’t decided if I’m actually going to watch it (sshhhhh, don’t tell!).
The second reason I decided to make something that would be appropriate at the Super Bowl was this recipe from I Am a Food Blog. Popcorn is something I eat so often and in such large quantities that it’s basically its own food group. Add caramel to that? Even better. And SRIRACHA?! I’m sold. It’s pretty much a meetup of all my favorite things and it’s perfect. Perfectly crunchy, perfectly balanced between sweet and spicy. So, true to my procrastinating, do-everything-last-minute form, (just like my day-before-the-big-day Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes), I made a Super Bowl recipe the day before the Super Bowl.
This recipe starts of with popcorn, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, Sriracha, salt, and baking soda.
The butter gets melted, and the sugar gets added in. Cook this for a little bit and it will turn into caramel. This part is a bit tricky – not gonna lie, I totally burned it the first time and had to start over.
The finished caramel is poured over the popcorn. This is pre-baking.
Sriracha Caramel Corn
5-6 cups of popped corn
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons Sriracha
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and set aside. Put the popcorn in a large heatproof bowl.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar until it’s completely moistened. Increase the heat to medium high and boil the butter/sugar mixture for 3 minutes, while using a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. The second time I made the caramel, the time it didn’t burn, I cooked it for a total of 3 minutes after adding the sugar to the butter. So it probably boiled for a little less than 3 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat – put it on a different burner. In a small bowl, mix together the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and sriracha. Add the sriracha mixture to the butter mixture. It will bubble up pretty violently. Stir until the caramel is thick and shiny.
Slowly pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir until all the kernels are evenly coated.
Spread the popcorn on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for one hour, stirring and breaking up any clumps that form every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to a week.