Don't get me wrong, I love fall. We get very distinct seasons where we live, and as much as I anxiously await summers arrival, fall is a close second for me.
Pumpkin spice lattes.
The change in the leaves.
Fall is just.... fabulous!
Despite my abundance of praise for fall, I just can't seem to get into autumnal decor. You won't see a hurricane vase of acorns or a runner made of faux leaves sewed together on this blog. I have absolutely nothing against seasonal decor of this variety, it's just not my jar of jam. My home is all whites and blues and greys, and fall decor just doesn't jive.
I prefer to put my creative fall energy into seasonal eats. That way, they aren't on display, I can share them with others, and they get eaten instead of sitting in a storage box until next fall (yay for less stuff!).
There are a lot of fall recipes I've wanted to try, but when my grandma gave me a huge bag of almonds (poor grammy has high potassium and can't eat them anymore), I decided to blend one of my favourite desserts with my favourite healthy snack. Pumpkin pie spiced almonds. Yummmy.
As is usually the case with my "original" ideas, I did some googling and of course, my idea isn't so original (is there such a thing anymore?). Go figure. Anyways, instead of reinventing the wheel, I used Robin's recipe tweaked just a bit (I added a little rum extract because I was short on vanilla, and it turned out yumm!). Check out her blog for the exact recipe, but I'm talking easy ingredients here! Agave nectar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, pumpkin spice. Yup, that's it. Oh, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
I have never made "candied" nuts before, and I have no clue why. They are SO easy. I literally whipped these up during one commercial break. Throw the almonds in a bowl, toss in the coating ingredients (thankfully all of which I had on hand), stir, and then spread on a cookie sheet covered in parchment (DO NOT use foil- I did and ended up having to pick each almond off the foil, and sometimes it brought some foil with it, so that certainly wasted some time.)
Toss in the oven for 18- 20 minutes, and voila! Your home will smell heavenly, and you'll have some delicious, non-refined sugar candied almonds.
They still retain a bit of stickiness as the agave doesn't seem to caramelize like sugar would, but not super sticky. I would call it more tacky than sticky. It won't leave your fingers amuck, which is nice.
The sea salt on top is divine. I love that it blends sweet and salty, and the pumpkin spice isn't overwhelming in any way.
Since you don't want to eat these all to yourself, pack some up and hand out to friends and family.
My favourite packaging tip is to scour the stationery sections of Winners/TJMaxx/Ross etc for wedding favour boxes. I found this set of 24 for just $3.99 and I use them for everything (wrapping small jewelry gifts for friends, toys for my cousins, and now almonds!). Much cheaper than buying them from Michaels and they're nice to have on hand when you need them.
If you have some almonds lying around your kitchen, I definitely recommend giving this a go. Can be made into teeny tiny batches too so you aren't as tempted to eat a whole pan!