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.
This whole time change thing is really cramping my style. I’m a night owl. During school I was most productive between about 9pm and 1am. Only partially because I’m also a procrastinator, but that’s a whole different post. So last week, when I left work at 5:30 and it was still light (ish) outside, I felt like I still had hours to accomplish things. Because if I want to accomplish anything, it’ll be in the later hours of the day. Pre-time change, I’d walk outside after sitting at my computer all day, and between the sun (the weather gods liked us last month) and the chilly air whipping by my face as I rode my bike home, it was basically a second morning. Now, I leave work at 5:30, and it’s already so dark that it might as well be midnight. It tricks me into thinking my power hours are already over and I should immediately huddle under my covers when I get home, even though the day’s not over and is probably just going to get better.
I think since the sun is now rising an hour earlier than it was last week. I might try and convince my body that those early hours should be the productive ones. It won’t be easy. Even working a full-time, 9-to-5 job, I am still incapable of getting up when my alarm tells me to. (I’m basically a teenage boy, I know.) But an extra hour of sunshine before work? That might be all the convincing I need. And if that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll just make a batch of these scones every week. They are definitely worth getting out of bed for. I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, but instead of her brown butter glaze (don’t get me wrong – brown butter is the best thing since sliced bread. I just can’t make it consistently without burning it yet), I used a maple glaze from Ina Garten, because I’m a complete sucker for maple. Also for Ina Garten, but who isn’t?
We’ve got the usual lineup of fall spice suspects here. Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Also brown sugar.
Then there’s butter.
We’ll mix it with our hands, quickly so it stays cold, until it looks like this.
And then there’s buttermilk and pumpkin and vanilla.
And big blobs of dough.
And, because obviously this isn’t enough, there’s GLAZE.
And, if you’re lucky and motivated enough to wake up for it, morning sunshine.
Pumpkin Pecan Scone with Maple Glaze
Makes 10-12 scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk, cold
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
For the glaze:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat it. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, mix the butter into the dry ingredients, working quickly so it remains cold. The butter will range in size from oat flakes to peas.
Whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Stir until almost thoroughly combines. Add in the pecans and mix until flour is completely incorporated. Scoop 1/2-cupfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them.
Bake 18-20 minutes or until browned and tops are slightly dry.
Allow to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and generously drizzle over scones.
These scones are best within 2 days of baking.