It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m feeling lazy – lounging in front of the TV while my husband and daughter are at the park. I’m in the mood for something sweet and satisfying, but all we have is some vanilla ice cream, which is just not going to do the trick. And then I see it. On the cooking show in front of me they are making affogato – an Italian dessert where you pour espresso over vanilla ice cream or gelato, plus or minus amaretto or other liqueur. The problem is I don’t have an espresso maker. So I brew some regular coffee instead. I don’t have amaretto so I add a splash of Kahlua. It works perfectly and is a delectable accompaniment to my Sunday afternoon. Happy Sunday!
A spoonful of sugar does indeed help the medicine go down – or in this case, almonds. I personally find almonds delicious simply on their own, especially if lightly toasted in a dry pan or in the oven. However, my daughter sometimes needs a little “sugar” to coax her into partaking of this delicious “medicine,” so I make candied almonds with sea salt (recipe below). When I call almonds “medicine,” I’m not being facetious. These little guys contain copious amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as being rich in mono-unsaturated fats which help lower “bad cholesterol” and help raise “good cholesterol.”
Now some might argue that this recipe counters all the good effects of the almonds by the negative effects of the sugar and salt. However, if you see this recipe as a dessert, instead of a daily snack, it’s actually one of the healthiest desserts you can have. Candied almonds are also great on salads, on top of oatmeal, or dare I say it – on top of ice cream. And they’re super easy to make. Here’s how I do it:
Almonds – 1 cup
*Sugar – 4 Tablespoons (you can put more or less sugar, depending on how sweet you want it)
Kosher salt – ¼ teaspoon
Sea salt or Fleur de sel (optional) – ¼ teaspoon
*Use the regular white granulated sugar for this recipe. Organic or raw sugar does not work well.
In a dry pan, add the almonds, followed by the sugar and kosher salt. Turn the heat to medium high. Don’t walk away from the pan or it will burn. Once you see the sugar starting to liquefy, stir the almonds carefully with a wooden spoon. Continue to gently stir the almonds around so they are evenly coated in caramelized sugar. When the sugar is almost completely liquefied, turn the heat off, and continue to stir the almonds in the pan so they can continue to toast. Once they are the desired deep toasty brown, carefully transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread them out in a single layer. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!
*Use the regular white granulated sugar for this recipe.
Sugar burns are the worst! Sugar gets REALLY hot and will stick to your skin, making the burn even worse. Always have a bowl filled with ice water next to you when caramelizing sugar so you can quickly plunge your hand (or elbow – whatever body part got caramel on it).
Where to buy:
The best place to buy almonds is at Costco. A 3 pound bag runs around $12. Grocery stores can be expensive when it comes to nuts. I store my almonds in the freezer to make them last longer.