Friday, December 13, 2013

Cinnamon Sugared Almonds

Sugar and spice and everything nice...

It is that time of year where we all start to think about baking, and making yummy treats to share with our family and friends over the holiday's.  Every year, I scour the Christmas magazines and internet for fun new yummy treats to make and take to parties or give as gifts.  I try to begin this process a few weeks before Christmas and start with things that will freeze or keep well so I can pull out an assortment of goodies for a last minute gift or to arrange a quick plate of treats for a party.  There are a few family favorites that I have to make, like the peanut butter blossoms with the Hershey kiss in the middle which is my son John's favorite or the traditional sugar cookies which my daughter Jessy loves.  The sugar cookies are fun to make and it's fun to get the entire family involved to help decorate them.

Along with the family favorites I usually try two or three new recipes for candy or treats to make each year.  Over the next few weeks of Holiday Baking I will share some of those recipes here. I would love to hear from all of you, and learn what's baking in your oven this holiday season!

Today I made a super easy nut confection that will be awesome to put into little bags or tins and give as gifts to friends and family. I chose these because I thought if I stored them in an airtight container until ready to give they will stay fresh for several weeks.  My entire house smelled wonderful while making them, like when you walk into a craft fair and your sense of smell gets assaulted with the sweet aroma of cinnamon roasted almonds and you know you have to have some.  They sell the little "snack packs" for about $5 bucks and they are just enough to wet your appetite for more. I bought a huge bag of Almonds at Costco for around $11 bucks and made a triple batch of this sweet nutty confection! And the best part, it only took about 20 minutes from start to finish!  Give these a try if you need a nice quick homemade gift. I know your hair dresser, post man, and neighbors will love them!

Cinnamon Sugared Almonds
3 cups whole raw almonds
1 cup sugar
1/2 TBS cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Directions:  In a pot on the stove top, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and water and stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves.  Add the almonds and stir to coat the nuts in the sugary syrup mixture, stirring constantly for 8 to 12 minutes until syrup mixture begins to crystallize and looks sandy (don't stop stirring!) Remove pan from heat and pour nuts coated nuts onto a parchment or wax paper lined pan to cool.  Serve warm, or let cool and store in an airtight container. 

Gather 4 simple ingredients... water, sugar, cinnamon, and almonds

Measure almonds and set aside

Combine cinnamon, sugar, and water in pan on stove

Cook on medium high heat 

Stir syrupy mixture until all sugar dissolves

Add the almonds to the syrup mixture in pan once sugar is dissolved

Continue to cook over medium high heat and stir constantly 
turning almonds over and coating with mixture

Stir nuts and syrup mixture until it begins to crystallize

It will begin to look sandy, when this happens, remove from heat

And pour on to a parchment or wax paper lined baking pan

let cool slightly before serving, 
or cool completely and store in airtight container

I made a triple batch at one time and it worked great. The large bag of almonds I purchased at Costco had a little over 9 cups and if I divide them into 1 cup gifts in small bags or tins I will have 9 gifts for just a little over a buck a piece, not bad if I do say so myself! These will make great little gifts to have on hand for little last minute gift grabs, that is if I can keep my hubby out of them!


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