So called Caramelized Almonds or Burnt Sugar Almonds („Gebrannte Mandeln“ in German) are most often purchased at Christmas Markets around here. Burnt sugar almonds are caramelized sugar-coated almonds, flavored most often with cinnamon and vanilla. They are usually cooked fresh in copper kettles right in front of you at the market. If you are lucky, you can buy them while they are still warm. They become harder, like brittle, when completely cool but no less delicious and tempting. Served in small vintage style paper cones or sold in seasonal cellophane bags, Caramelized Almonds are a treat you should not pass up if you happen to visit a German Christmas market.
If there is no Christmas market that you can visit to buy these almonds at, you can easily make them at home. Usually, I go for the cinnamon and vanilla variety, this year I prefer a Caramel-Fleur de Sel variety. When I posted the recipe for my Almond Cake with Fleur de Sel back in April of this year (recipe here) - I feel seriously in love with the combination of sweet and salty, especially when paired with almonds!
Caramelized Almonds with Sea Salt
Ingredients for the Almonds
- 100 ml water
- 100 grams sugar
- scraped seeds from one vanilla bean or 2 tsps. pure vanilla sugar
- 400 grams raw, whole almonds
- 1 tbsp almond oil (I use the Almond Oil from my local oil mill (link here) but feel free to use another oil here such as sunflower oil)
- ½ - 1 tsp. Fleur de Sel (I use Fleur de sel de Guérande)
Special Equipment needed
- a heavy pot, preferably cast iron, NOT a non-stick pan
- a wooden spoon
- a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Preparation of the Caramelized Almonds
- Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean and add it to the sugar. Mix well. NOTE: You should not discard the vanilla bean, but put the scraped vanilla bean in with your vanilla sugar to boost its aroma. OR: Use 2 tsps. pure vanilla sugar
- Add the sugar and water to the heavy saucepan and set it over medium heat. Stir to mix, then bring it to a boil before adding the almonds.
- Add the almonds to the pan. Then stir constantly until the water is boiled away.
- The sugar will dry out after about 8 to 10 minutes and the almonds will take on a grey-brown tinge. Keep stirring, so that the almonds do not burn on the bottom of the pan.
- At this stage, the sugar heats up and starts to melt. Just keep stirring, so that the almonds become evenly browned and about half of the sugar is melted and gives the almonds a shiny coat.
- When they are shiny, but not burnt (this takes careful watching) remove the pan from the heat.
- While stiring the almonds with a wooden spoon, add the almond oil, then the Fleur de Sel and mix carefully.
- Place the Caramelized Almonds on your parchment lined baking sheet, separate them if they stick together. Be very careful, however. These are extremely hot, so use two spoons to separate them.
- Either let them cool completely or serve them while warm.
The Caramelized Almonds with Fleur de Sel will make delicious gifts and while they are at their very best when enjoyed while still warm, they do keep well. If you plan on giving them as gifts, you can fill small cookie tins, Weck jars or small festive cellophane bags tied with pretty little ribbons. Or craft paper cones to package your Caramelized Almonds - you can use some pretty Christmas wrapping paper to make lovely little paper cones. They are also fun to make if you’ve got smaller hands helping you
And if you do not enjoy eating almonds, you can take the less traditional road and make this recipe using nuts of your choice. I usually make a batch with hazelnuts, just make sure you use a hazelnut oil then instead of the almond oil that my recipe calls for. But the recipe also works with cashew nuts, macademia nuts or walnuts.
Trust me that these Caramelized Almonds with Fleur de Sel are the perfect blend of sweet and salty and they will make your house smell amazing – once you have tasted one, you will not be able to stop yourself from munching away on them!
Please make sure to drop by again tomorrow when we will open our eleventh special surprise in my Virtual Advent Calendar!