Smoked Spicy Bourbon-Maple Almonds

Things I’m learning from my continuing Weeds marathon:

-The scary guys (usually guys, but I say “guys” gender-neutrally) aren’t really that scary.  They’re scared of the other scary guys, and so forth.  A moratorium on being scared is much needed in the world; can I get an “Amen”?

-In TV fantasy land at least, being a pretty white lady can get you out of a lot of trouble.  LOTS.  I have a lot of ambivalent, rambling thoughts on this (which mostly go in circles).

-I need to wear more denim jackets and artfully layered delicate necklaces.

-Don’t send flowers to a Jewish funeral.  Did not know that (embarrassing but true).  Send food!  I can do that.  I’m prepared.  The more you know!

-It’s far, far too easy to consume a pound of delicious almonds rather quickly.  Wowza.  That’s not Weeds–that’s me, watching Weeds on my couch.  Hi.

We already know how much I love my smoker, but I think I need to emphasize that it’s useful for so much more than meat and fish.  Nuts, for example, are full of oils, and take to smoking beautifully.  If you’ve had smoked almonds before, I don’t need to convince you that they’re crazy delicious.  But I may need to convince you that it’s easy, and fun, and worthwhile to make your own.

These in particular are all about the sharp bite of bourbon and a spicy kick of cayenne pepper.

There’s a bit of sweetness from maple syrup, but I wouldn’t say these are sweet, really.  So, if that’s what you’re after, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar would be perfect.  And if you’re not a fan of spicy, by all means, skip the cayenne.  You don’t even need bourbon, really–smoked nuts can be as simple as you’d like.

After soaking in bourbon/maple syrup/cayenne, for a couple of hours, just 12-15 minutes in the smoker is perfect.  I used alder chips–mild woods are probably best.

Spreading them out in the smoker in a single layer would have been a great idea, but I got lazy and didn’t want to fuss with two batches.  It’s all good.  Post-smoking, they’ll still be wet from soaking in the whiskey mixture, so just dry them in a single layer, on a big sheet of wax paper, and you’re good to go!

Pour into a bowl and–voila–instant companion to your Netflix queue.

P.S. I’ve said this before, but if you think I’m getting paid to wax poetic about smokers, you are wildly overestimating my business savvy, and for that I thank you!  But, I’m just spreading the smoker love because I think they’re awesome, is all.

Smoked Spicy Bourbon-Maple Almonds

1 lb raw whole almonds
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste, also optional)

Combine everything but the almonds in a small bowl.  Pour mixture over almonds in a nonreactive container (plastic bowl, or a plastic Ziploc bag would be super), cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.  

Prepare stovetop smoker with about 1/4 cup of mild wood chips (such as alder, cherry or apple).  Smoke almonds according to manufacturer instructions for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat and, when cool enough to handle, spread out in a single layer on a big sheet of waxing paper until dry.

6 Responses to Smoked Spicy Bourbon-Maple Almonds

  1. Question . . . does the smoking burn off the alcohol?

    Statement . . . what a lovely combination of flavors!!! :)

    • I hadn’t even thought of that… I did some Googling, and the (really, definitely, totally precise) answer is, it burns off some of it!

      And thanks!

  2. Pingback: Salty Fig Blog | Pass the Salt | Collect. Organize. Share your Recipes

  3. Again with the smoker!! Now seriously, you could send me some of these almonds right? I don’t have a smoker (yet) and it seems as though almonds would travel much better than turkey pastrami. . . . ;)

  4. I really like the idea of adding bourbon to the mixture. I might try this with some smoked paprika or chipotle chili instead of smoking the nuts (really sensitive smoke detector). Really great ideas!!

  5. Pingback: Web’s Best: Recipes with Whiskey | Cool Material