Every year at the holidays, my cozy kitchen looks like a bakery. I make cannoli, cookies and lots of different candies in the week leading up to Christmas. First on my list is the treat that keeps the longest, the Chocolate Covered Almonds. I started last night with a one pound batch of nuts, working through the first steps and expecting to dress them in their chocolate coats over the weekend. I parked the tray on the counter corner and went to bed. This morning as I left the house, I noticed that the almonds were half gone, nibbled away by my family while I slept. It made me smile, knowing that sneaking a taste, or a little more, is one of the things that makes the season so special for my kids. On my way to Trader Joe’s planning my next batch of almonds, I realized that leaving the chocolate coating off the nuts creates a crunchy, caramelized sweet that is just as yummy as those that are fully prepared. Here is the simplified version of our recipe from In A Nutshell. Leaving off the chocolate outside is a break with tradition for us, but my family seems to love them just they way they are.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 pound natural almonds
Equipment: 1 baking sheet, lined with a silicone sheet, or lined with parchment paper
1. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, . Add the almonds and stir constantly. The sugar will begin to whiten and crystallize. Continue cooking and stirring until the sugar begins to remelt and caramelize on the almonds. When almost all of the sugar is melted (as shown n the picture), you will begin to hear the almonds popping slightly. Transfer them to the prepared pan. Spread in a single layer and cool. Break apart with a spatula if they stick together.