Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

A couple of evenings ago I decided to finally try this Pinterest find: http://www.thecafesucrefarine.com/2011/12/three-holiday-must-have-recipes-day-2.html  After all, I love avocados, don’t you?

The first step in preparing this salad was to make those Candied Spiced Almonds, and I’ll admit I was a little leery of that one.  Sometimes these candied nut recipes work beautifully for me, and other times they fail miserably.  The first scary part?  Melting some sugar in a nonstick pan.  Just sugar.  I’m thinking, “Is this going to work right?  Am I going to burn it?”  Well, here it was, starting to melt just like it ought to: 2013_0928September20130003  Then after adding the rest of the ingredients in, I wasn’t truly certain when to stop cooking.  I know these things can burn pretty easily, so this is the point at which I decided to toss in the almonds: 2013_0928September20130005  I didn’t prepare a full pound of almonds, just one of those small packages of sliced almonds you find in the baking aisle.  So I only fixed half the sugar mixture.  And I added just a pinch of cumin, because we don’t like a strong cumin flavor here at our house.  we prefer just a hint in the background.  I then spread the almond slices out on my oil spritzed foil and let them sit while I put together the rest of the salad.  What do you know?  They set up quite nicely!  2013_0928September20130008  I probably should have spread them out a little more before the sugar hardened, though, because some chunks didn’t break apart all that easily.

For the salad greens, I chose to omit the cilantro (another “not a favorite” at our house) and just bought a bag of mixed greens:  2013_0928September20130007  After shaking up the dressing ingredients, slicing the avocados, and plating it all up, I had on my hands a rather tasty salad: 2013_0928September20130010   I’ll be making this one again sometime, for sure!

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