For presents this year we decided to make a fancy variety of nuts, like those you find at Western Nut Company. We went down to Sunflower Markets to pick up some raw, unsalted whole nuts and set forth turning them into presents.
First, we soaked a gazillion pounds of almonds in a mixture of kosher salt and water. Ten hours later, we removed the almonds from the water and laid them out to dry.
While they were drying, we worked on other varieties.
A day after we dried the almonds, we loaded our smoker full of hickory wood and set forth slow smoking the almonds. For five hours they smoked. Every fifteen minutes that passed would require one of us to go outside and stir the nuts. After the five hours were up, we personally inspected each and every nut, weeding out any that had been too close to the flame. This step made me realize that there are actually people in the world that do this sort of thing as a job. It was back-breaking, mind-numbing work. Hats off to them as I could never be a professional nut sorter.
Once done, we packed the nuts into assorted sizes of takeout containers, labeled them, and smacked a holiday sticker on the top.