go nuts!

December 26, 2010

every year around the holidays i go a little nuts baking and preparing snacks as gifts for parties and family and friends. this year, in memory of my grandmother who died in the spring, i’ve been trying to make more of her recipes, including this one for the traditional german christmas market snack,  gebrannte mandeln aka burnt sugar almonds. christmas in germany for me is automatically associated with the incredible smell of these nuts and warm mulled wine wafting through the stalls of tiny baby jesus trinkets, candies, and toys. but despite their yuletide association, these crunchy, sugary morsels are ridiculously easy to make and are a good, homemade gift all-year-round. unfortunately the colorful paper tüte won’t stop your recipient from devouring every last nut…enjoy!

ingredients!

1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar (i use evaporated cane sugar!)
1 1/4 cups raw nuts (just almonds, just cashews, just peanuts, whatev)
a lil salt
maybe some cinnamon?

- heat the water up (doesn’t take long) and stir in the vanilla & sugar
- keeping the heat on medium-high, add the nuts and stir until the liquid evaporates and the nuts look sandy
- take the nuts off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes
- throw em back on the fire and stir constantly until they’re all perfectly coated in the melty brown caramelized sugar. throw a little salt or cinnamon on there, if you wish.
- spread them out on a cookie sheet to cool and resist snacking because they are really really hot and you need to save some for your friends!!

here’s a little gif tutorial on how to wrap the nuts into paper cones. first put them in some kind of plastic or wax paper bag, squished into a cone shape. get some pretty paper and a ribbon- i used some psychedelic “partridge in a pear tree” placemats that i found at the thrift store as the wrapping. fold the corner of the paper up and roll the bag into a cone shape, leaving enough room at the top to tie a ribbon. you can always tuck the extra paper at the top and just fold it over, sans ribbon, which is also quite cute. voila! a delicious snack in a fun cone!

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