There are few things that delight me more in autumn than the smell of spiced roasted nuts. I have yet to meet a roasted nut I did not swoon over, especially when they’re glistening with a buttery cinnamon glaze heady with the mingled aromas of smoke and vanilla. Yesterday massive dark clouds rolled in, making my little kitchen feel especially cozy and welcoming. I couldn’t think of anything more sensible to do than haul out spices, pans, bowls, and nuts and make some Smoked Vanilla Cinnamon Almonds.
I was going to use my crockpot for crockpot cinnamon almonds, but alas, my crockpot died and is utterly kaput. If your crockpot is not dead, you can easily make these beauties in it. Simply combine all the ingredients, pour them into the crockpot set on low, and leave there for two hours, stirring once halfway through. When done, spread over a baking sheet to cool, then dig in.
If, like me, you are reliant on oven alone, do not fret. They’re just as easy to make and are ready to eat in only 20 minutes.
This recipe is best with whole almonds since they are easier for snacking on. If you want to use the almonds as a topping for ice cream or cake, feel free to use slivered or sliced almonds; just be sure to keep a close eye on them during roasting since they will burn much faster.
While you can use blanched almonds for this recipe, I much prefer almonds with their skins on. The roasting process makes them beautifully crispy and gives them a lovely texture and a flavor that is earthy and marvelous.
Once you’ve chosen the type of almond you want to use, pour them into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, place butter and melt over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, remove pan from heat and stir in ground cinnamon (freshly ground will give you the best fragrance and flavor), pure vanilla extract, and a drop or two of liquid smoke and leave to steep 5-10 minutes. Note: If you’re lucky enough to have a barbecue or open fire to roast your almonds over, skip the liquid smoke addition completely. The fire will provide plenty of delicious smoky flavor.
Once the butter is steeped, add almonds to pot and stir gently to coat. Pour onto baking sheet covered with baking paper, and spread gently so nuts are in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and sugar to taste, then roast at 450 degrees for 10-20 minutes until one or two of the nuts start to split. Remove from oven and cool completely. If you aren’t eating them right away, store in fridge and before serving, reheat slightly in oven so butter melts.
If almonds aren’t your thing, try this recipe with pecans, macadamia nuts, or walnuts. Pecans and walnuts work especially well since the buttery glaze sinks into the crevices and provides extra bursts of sumptuous, smoky flavor.
Smoked Vanilla Cinnamon Almonds
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 drops liquid smoke
- salt and sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 450 F and cover baking sheet with baking paper.
In small saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, vanilla, and liquid smoke. Leave to steep for 5 minutes.
Pour almonds into saucepan and stir to coat.
Spread in single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and sugar to taste.
Bake for 10-20 minutes, watching closely, until one or two nuts begin to split.
Remove from oven and cool completely. Eat right away or store in fridge and reheat before serving.