Friday, March 12, 2010

Sweet and salty almonds

We maintain our Costco membership for three reasons – almonds, fresh salmon and dried cranberries.  We buy other stuff at Costco but those three alone make the membership worthwhile.

I’ve been trying for some time to figure out how to make sugared and salted almonds and I have finally got it nailed.  You need some almonds – as many as you want to end up with – Costco is a great place to get them for a reasonable price.  Put them in a heavy frying pan and brown them with a little butter.  While they are browning put some corn syrup in a measuring cup in the microwave.  You don’t need much corn syrup – maybe a couple of tablespoons per cup of almonds.  You want to boil the corn syrup so that it ends up at the hard ball stage at the same time that the almonds are ready for it.  If you don’t know what “hard ball” means, Google it.  And what you are after is an approximation – there’s no way you’ll have time for a candy thermometer when all this comes together.  Its probably better to err on the soft side if you are going to err.

Keep stirring the almonds and butter so they don’t burn and at the same time get some brown sugar and salt ready.  You need enough sugar to coat the almonds thoroughly and however much salt you like.  You can use white sugar too if you prefer.  I use a mixture of seasoned salt and sea salt but you could do whatever you like.  You probably need about 1/3 the volume of sugar as you have almonds. 

When the almonds are nicely browned dump the heated corn syrup in the pan and keep stirring it.  What you are trying to do is get the syrup to completely coat the almonds.  You have to move fast at this point because you want to get the sugar/salt mixture added before the corn syrup hardens.  When the almonds are thoroughly coated and still hot, dump the coated almonds into the sugar and salt mixture and start stirring them together.  Keep stirring until the almonds are completely coated – they should be dry at this point. 

As they cool off they may want to stick together – that means you should have used more sugar or left the heat on longer after you dumped the syrup into the almonds.  Keep stirring them occasionally as they cool off so they don’t turn into one solid lump.  Alternatively you may wish to dump the whole works out on waxed paper and separate each almond so that they harden separately.  That is my preferred method now.



LakeConroePenny,TX said...

I know the benefits of eating almonds for many healthy reasons, and their cholesterol lowering properties.
But adding sugar, corn syrup and salt, all of which have no food value, and are not good for you, doesn't make sense to me.

"If you want almonds with a roasted flavor and texture, choose those that have been "dry roasted" as they are not cooked in oil like their regular roasted counterparts. Yet, even when purchasing "dry roasted" almonds, it is important to read the label to be sure that no additional ingredients such as sugar, corn syrup or preservatives have been added." From:

I love almond butter, but I make sure nothing has been added.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Jorgito's dad said...

Clearly we're not doing this for our health.