Two days until Thanksgiving! I’m freaking out a little bit! I do have a turkey, yes. And a loose plan for filling out the rest of the meal, including generous family members bringing a good number of dishes. But if you’re sitting at your desk today, sweating a little at the thought of how much there is to do before sitting down on Thursday…I am too.
I suggest not sweating the appetizers, however. In younger, new-wife years, I used to prepare elaborate starters, which I quickly learned can be the most time-consuming part of the meal. In this more experienced phase of life, I hardly give them a thought. To me, Thanksgiving is about the meal, not loading up on heavy snacks, so I’ll be offering these nuts, which are massively addictive, and nice to nibble with drinks, but are not appetite-killing. I’ll set them out alongside a platter of interesting crudite—which my sister Stacey will be bringing!—and that will be it.
You can include fresh herbs or cayenne pepper with the maple syrup, but like the holiday meal as a whole, I’ve decided I like them best prepared simply. Absolutely do use good salt.
Makes 1 pound
1 lb. raw almonds
1/4 c. real maple syrup
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have the salt ready before you roast the almonds.
Place almonds in a large bowl. Toss with syrup until thoroughly coated, then stir in the butter. Spread almonds on prepared baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes. Stir almonds and return to the oven for another 7 minutes. The syrup should be quite thick, and coating the almonds, and the almonds should smell toasted but not burned.
Quickly sprinkle the hot almonds with salt to taste, before the syrup hardens. Cool the almonds and break apart any clumps. Store in an airtight container.