Keeping a trusty recipe in your back pocket with the holiday season fast approaching is a win-win for all. When the whirlwind of festivities and gatherings gets to be slightly overwhelming, you'll need a snack that's easy to throw together but elegant enough to put out during cocktail hour, and these smoky and sweet almonds are just the ticket to help you win at entertaining.
A touch of brown sugar, the gentle hum of paprika, a drizzle of sesame oil, and toasty sesame seeds coat whole almonds in a crunchy glaze that will have everyone reaching for them by the handful. Which, our test kitchen staff can confirm, is problematic when you're trying to photograph them.
The secret to getting crispy spiced almonds here is to work fast once the almonds are added to the glaze since it can congeal quickly. Make sure each almond is evenly coated before you spread them out on the baking sheet and toss in the oven; then once they're ready, give them lots of space as they cool so that they don't clump together.
With such a simple recipe, using ingredients where the flavors really work together instead of competing against each other is important. This recipe calls for Spectrum® Organic Sesame Oil for exactly this reason. It has lighter, more delicate flavors than most Asian toasted sesame oils so that you can still really taste the almonds themselves. Spectrum® has been making natural, organic culinary oils for 30 years, and their wide range of expeller-pressed oils are wonderful for cooking, baking, and as a flavorful finishing oil for drizzling.
Keep a stash of these almonds in your bag as you're running holiday errands for a tasty snack, or make a double batch that you can serve to guests before dinner or package up as holiday food gifts!
Easy Sesame Almonds
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Spectrum® Organic Sesame Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 pound raw almonds
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet and 2 wire cooling racks with parchment paper and set aside.
Whisk the brown sugar, Spectrum ® Organic Sesame Oil, salt, paprika, and vinegar together in a large bowl until syrupy. Add the almonds and toss until thoroughly coated. Transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until the almonds are brown and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes total. They should be a rich brown color and just start to smell toasted as you open the oven door.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the hot almonds and stir to evenly distribute the seeds. Divide the nuts between the 2 prepared cooling racks and use a spatula to spread the nuts out so they do not touch. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Using your hands, break apart any nut clusters that are stuck together if needed.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
This post is sponsored by Spectrum® and was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Kitchn possible.