Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Glazed Almonds (Gebrannte Mandeln) - Who'd have thought it could be so easy?

Gebrannte Mandeln have long been a favourite of mine for as long as I can remember.  The fragrance of these cinnamon spiced, sugar coated almonds instantly conjures up fond memories of Christmas time in Austria.

Australia does have the equivalent, the glazed almond, however, I am yet to taste any that are as fresh, fragrant and crunchy as those offered at any Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) in Europe.  Well, that was until I made my own...

After a little research and experimentation, I discovered this delightful treat could easily and quickly be made at home, which is just as well, because they disappear in a flash...

Glazed Almonds

Required time: 20 minutes
  200gr Sugar
  1pkt Vanilla sugar
  300gr Almonds (raw and whole)
  100ml Water
  Cinnamon (to taste, can be omitted if you prefer)

  1. Lightly grease a baking tray with a cooking oil spray.
  2. Place the sugar, vanilla sugar, cinnamon and water into a pan large enough to accommodate all the almonds and stir to combine.  I like to use a large frying pan for this.
  3. Over a medium heat, stir the sugar syrup with a wooden spoon until the sugar begins to dissolve and the mixture starts to boil.
  4. Carefully add the almonds to the bubbling mix and stir them in the syrup.  Stir the mix constantly, this ensures the almonds are evenly coated with sugar and that they do not over roast.  (Stirring is the key to success with this recipe.)
  5. After 5 to 10 minutes you will notice the water begins to evaporate and the almonds become covered in a cloudy crystalline sugar coating.  Keep stirring, albeit a little slower to allow the pan to heat a little more and begin to caramelize the sugar.
  6. Over the course of the next few minutes the sugar will caramelize, at this point it is critical you stir to ensure all the almonds obtain an even coating of the caramelized sugar.  You may hear the almonds 'popping' from the heat, this is a good sign, you're nearly there!
  7. Once the almonds look dark and glossy, remove the pan from the heat and stir for another minute or so to slightly cool, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Spread the almonds out into a single layer with the wooden spoon and then with the help of two forks quickly proceed to separate the almonds into single almonds on the tray.
  9. Allow to cool.
  10. Enjoy...

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