Brown Sugar Almonds

These are picnic-worthy not just because of their sugar-encrusted goodness, but because you can make them days ahead of time and serve them as soon as you arrive at the picnic site, before the rest of the food is unpacked. Hey, and if you serve them in the car on the way to the picnic, that's okay, too, though technically that's not a picnic. Admittedly, it's a smallish recipe, but there's a reason for that: the almonds are so good that people would fill up on them if given the chance. Feel free to double the amount.
For the best almonds, get them from a good natural foods store. Walnuts work well in this recipe, too.

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1. Spread a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on a work surface to cool the almonds on later.

2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until hot and sizzling very softly, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the salt over the nuts. Push the sugar through a medium-mesh strainer, sprinkling it over the almonds, and continue cooking and stirring until the sugar is completely molten, about 10 minutes. It won't stick to the nuts much at this point.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the sugar cools just enough that it coats the nuts. Pour the nuts onto the foil or parchment paper. Spread the nuts into a single layer and use a fork to separate them if you wish. When the nuts are cool, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Excerpted from Good Day for a Picnic: Simple Food That Travels Well by Jeremy Jackson (Morrow Cookbooks, New York, 2005). © 2005 by Jeremy Jackson. All rights reserved.

Prep time: 
5 minutes
Cook time: 
15 minutes
Total time: 
20 minutes
Makes about 6 servings

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