While doing research for an article about Stollen for Just Baking, I ran across a recipe for sugar almonds that piqued my curiosity. I was intrigued by the simple list of ingredients and the method used to create a hard candy shell, so I gave it a try. The results were surprisingly excellent. The candy coating gave the almonds a good crunch when you bit into them. The flavors of the sugar, cinnamon, and almonds were well balanced. No flavor overpowered another. The small amount of cinnamon was noticeable and highlighted the sweetness of the sugar. These almonds would be popular served at a party or on a dessert tray. They would also make a wonderful gift from your kitchen, in a decorated jar or container.
The key to the recipe is not overcooking the almonds, a lesson I learned the hard way. While preparing a batch I was paged for work and ended up overcooking the almonds because of the distraction. Although the shell still formed and had the desired crunchiness, the flavor and texture of slightly burnt almonds made them unpleasant to eat. I also made batches in different size pans (two and four quart) and found that the bigger pan made it easier to keep the almonds separate at the end.
The recipe is from German Cookery: The Crown Classic Cookbook Series (Crown Classic Cookbook). It’s recipe number 494 (page 199), which is in the candies section of the chapter entitled “Christmas Cakes and Candies”.
4 Tbls. water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup shelled almonds (do not use blanched)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Grease a jelly roll or similar pan and place two forks by it. Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until this forms a thick syrup. The water will boil off. When the syrup is ready, remove it from heat, gently add in the almonds, and stir constantly. Continue to stir until the sugar syrup begins to crackle, which does not take long and occurs while the syrup is still liquid. Place this over heat again. The sugar will crystallize and form a white grainy coating; continue heating and stirring until all the sugar is melted again. Once all the sugar is melted, mix in the cinnamon. Remove from heat and pour onto greased pan. Separate the almonds with the forks, working quickly before they cool and fuse together.
As posted at Sugar Savvy or as one of the featured articles at Well Fed...
Sources for Sugar Almonds: