Warning!! These nuts are seriously addicting. Let’s just say I had my husband on a grocery store run for a second bag of almonds after surreptitiously consuming an entire recipe’s worth over a mere 24 hour period. How could I let a simple nut get the better of me you might ask? Allow me to share.
It all started a day earlier when I was tasked to make the salad course for our monthly supper club get together. I’ll admit, even though I’m a pretty easy going girl when it comes to cooking, I like to try and kick it up a notch for our dinner group. I kind of consider it my canvas, if you will, to jump into new waters. I hunted around a few of my fellow food bloggers sites and settled on a brussel sprout and bacon salad over at Lyndsay’s blog that looked absolutely glorious. The recipe called for straight up almonds, but being the food blogger that I am, I used that little nugget as an opportunity to make it my own.
Plain almonds are good, but candied almonds? Those are SO much better. To be Frank, I’m lucky they even made it on the salad. It got so bad at one point that I literally gave myself a second degree burn on the pad of my thumb because I couldn’t wait for the sugar to cool down before grabbing a taster from the pan. And let me just give an experienced heads up on that front…. no matter how tasty they look, no matter how loud they call your name, DO NOT TOUCH them until they are completely cooled. Hot sugar is an evil, evil thing.
Aside from the injurious nature of hot liquid sugar, these little handhelds are quite simple to make. Start out with a cup of sugar and, if you’ve got it, a vanilla bean. I know you’re supposed to scrape the seeds out, but darn if I’m too lazy to do that. I simply cut mine into thirds and then pulled them out once the sugar was fully melted. Worked like a charm.
Now, turn the heat up to medium high and get the sugar liquified. Halfway there….
…and ready for nuts. Notice how the vanilla beans poofed out and released they’re yummy essence. It’s at this point that you use a tong, fork etc. to grab them out. Beware, as stated above that hot sugar is just that; hot. And I do mean hot. No touching!
Stir in a teaspoon of salt and turn off the heat.
Time to drop in those nuts. I gave mine a rough chop in the food processor before I added them to the pot so that I would have some smaller pieces. You don’t need to do this if you don’t want to, I just think it lends itself better to achieving adequate candy coverage.
Stir them around to get an initial coat and then finish off by dropping in a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Continue to stir the nuts and incorporate the cinnamon. Once all the ingredients are happily co-mingled, dump them out onto a cutting board to cool the rest of the way.
And since we don’t want to eat the nuts in one big hunky chunk, grab up a zip lock bag (I used a quart freezer bag), toss the big pieces in and gently bang on them with a kitchen hammer until you get the desired sizes. If you don’t have a kitchen hammer, a can of beans will probably work just as well.
Just like that you’ve created a brand new, full on addiction for yourself. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Yield: 11/2 Cups of Candied Nuts
Total Time: 30 min
These tasty nuts are good on salad, in trail mixes or simply straight out of the bucket!
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
11/2 Cups Unfooled around with Almonds, Coarsely Chopped
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Chop the vanilla bean into three pieces and add to a large saucepan along with the sugar.
Turn the heat up to medium high and allow the sugar to liquefy, stirring occasionally.
Once the sugar is melted remove the vanilla beans using a tong or a fork. Be aware that the sugar is extremely hot - don't touch!
Add the salt and combine.
Remove from heat and stir in the almonds followed by the cinnamon.
Scoop the nuts out of the pan and onto a cutting board to finish cooling.
Once they're completely cool, place the nuts into a ziplock bag and gently hit them with a kitchen mallet or other hard kitchen accoutrement in order to break into bite sized pieces.
Store in an airtight container.