Burnt Sugar Almonds (Gebrannte Mandeln)
- 1/3 cups Water, Plus 2 Tablespoons
- 1-1/3 cup Sugar, Divided
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
- 2 cups Raw Almonds
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Adapted from tastykitchen.com
Use a heavy saucepan (NOT the nonstick kind) and a wooden spoon.
First add the water, 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Add the almonds to the mix, raise the temperature to high heat and stir CONSTANTLY until the water is boiled away.
The sugar will dry out a little but start to stick to the almonds. Keep stirring them around, so that the almonds don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
Turn the heat under the pan to medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast. Keep stirring until the almonds start having an even shiny coat.
Don’t be distracted by the heavenly aroma that is enveloping your kitchen—you need your full concentration on the task!
Now dump in the rest of your sugar. Keep stirring, and add your vanilla. At this point, I like to mention that if you have vanilla sugar or a powdered type of vanilla flavoring, do feel free to use that over the liquid kind. It tends to work better. If you do, mix it with the 1/3 of a cup of sugar you are using for the second lot of sugar.
At this point, there might be quite some noise ensuing from your pan. Some crackling and popping, but hopefully no snapping. It depends on how fresh your almonds were. Really fresh almonds will make a popping noise and the coat may start to crack. That’s the water in the almonds escaping. If the almonds are older, there won’t be as much of that!
Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. You don’t want them completely smooth. The best ones are the ones that are shiny in some areas with some delicious lumps of cinnamon sugar on other parts of the almond.
As soon as you see that happening, take them off the heat and transfer the almonds to a sheet of parchment paper. Spread them apart as much as you can, but don’t worry about some of them sticking together initially. BE CAREFUL, however. These are extremely hot, so only use a spoon. These babies can really burn you!
While they are cooling down, keep on breaking them apart with your spoon(s) until they are all separated. Fair warning: these are totally divine when they are still ever-so-slightly warm. There, you’ve been warned!
Once they are cooled, hide (ahem, I meant store) them in a dry, closed container. Theoretically, they keep for several weeks. I’ve never had an opportunity to test that theory.