Carts selling hot sugared almonds are a common sight at most European Christmas markets. Powdery sugar, crispy almonds and a hint of cinnamon all combine to create a wonderfully festive combination, and they make a great little table gift or stocking filler. Stored in glass jars they should theoretically last for a couple of weeks, but I like to pack them into tiny paper cones; stuffed in your pocket they make a fabulous snack on any winter walk. (Recipe taken from “Craft Your Own Cosy Scandi Christmas by Becci Coombes).
Ingredients (makes twelve small cones, plus extra for sampling)
200g white granulated sugar
200g whole almonds
½ tsp cinnamon
- Place the water, cinnamon and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan or frying pan, and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, tip in the almonds and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- The mixture will bubble away until the water has evaporated; as soon as the sugar starts to re-crystallise, turn the heat down and keep turning the almonds until they are all coated in the golden crusty sugar and spice.
- If you prefer your almonds to be smoother and glossier, just keep stirring a little longer; the sugar will start to melt again and make a shiny, caramel finish.
- Tip the almonds out onto a sheet of baking parchment, and using two forks, separate the nuts out so they do not stick together as they harden.
- To make the paper cones, cut twelve circles from a roll of baking parchment, using a dinner plate as a template (the one used here was 27cms in diameter).
- Fold the paper circle in half, shiny side facing inwards, then in half twice more to make the cone shape.
- Fill with between twelve and fourteen almonds, then tie with baker’s twine in a pretty bow.