From The Boston Globe Magazine, 2004 December 5
Makes about 2 cups.
Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set the sheet on a heatproof surface.
In a heavy-based saucepan (not nonstick or enamel-coated), combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Set the mixture over low heat, shaking the pan gently several times, until the sugar melts and the liquid turns clear.
Turn up the heat and let the mixture simmer steadily, watching it closely, until it begins to turn color. You'll see swirls of tan in the syrup as it bubbles, and gradually they will turn darker and darker. When the syrup is light brown all over, use a wooden spoon to stir in the nuts.
Continue boiling the mixture until it turns a deep mahogany color. (A candy thermometer inserted into the mixture should register between 290 and 300 degrees).
Turn the mixture out onto the oiled sheet and use the wooden spoon to spread the nuts in one layer. Set the pan in a cool spot for several hours or overnight to allow the caramel to firm up.
With your hands, break the caramel into 1-inch pieces. Store the pieces in an airtight tin for up to 1 week. Pack the almonds into a small tin or dish. Cover with lid or wrap tightly in cellophane. Store at room temperature until giving as gifts.
Notes: Haven't tried it yet. I don't think these would make that great a gift in Boston, because they sell them from the street carts downtown, and so they're a common, everyday thing. But before I came to Boston, I thought much more of them. I still like them, either way.
"Good afternoon, madam. How may I help you?"
"Good afternoon. I'd like a FrintArms HandCannon, please."
"A--? Oh, now, that's an awfully big gun for such a lovely lady. I
mean, not everybody thinks ladies should carry guns at all, though I
say they have a right to. But I think... I might... Let's have a look
down here. I might have just the thing for you. Yes, here we are!
Look at that, isn't it neat? Now that is a FrintArms product as well,
but it's what's called a laser -- a light-pistol some people call
them. Very small, as you see; fits easily into a pocket or bag; won't
spoil the line of a jacket; and you won't feel you're lugging half a
tonne of iron around with you. We do a range of matching accessories,
including -- if I may say so -- a rather saucy garter holster. Wish I
got to do the fitting for that! Ha -- just my little joke. And
there's *even*... here we are -- this special presentation pack: gun,
charged battery, charging unit, beautiful glider-hide shoulder holster
with adjustable fitting and contrast stitching, and a discount on your
next battery. Full instructions, of course, and a voucher for free
lessons at your local gun club or range. Or there's the *special*
presentation pack; it has all the other one's got but with *two*
charged batteries and a night-sight, too. Here, feel that -- don't
worry, it's a dummy battery -- isn't it neat? Feel how light it is?
Smooth, see? No bits to stick out and catch on your clothes, *and*
beautifully balanced. And of course the beauty of a laser is, there's
no recoil. Because it's shooting light, you see? Beautiful gun,
beautiful gun; my wife has one. Really. That's not a line, she
really has. Now, I can do you that one -- with a battery and a free
charge -- for ninety-five; or the presentation pack on a special
offer for one-nineteen; or this, the special presentation pack, for
"I'll take the special."
"Sound choice, madam, *sound* choice. Now, do--?"
"And a HandCannon, with the eighty-mill silencer, five GP clips, three
six-five AP/wire-fl'echettes clips, two bipropellant HE clips, and a
Special Projectile Pack if you have one -- the one with the embedding
rounds, not the signalers. I assume the night-sight on this toy is
"Aah... yes, And how does madam wish to pay?"
She slapped her credit card on the counter. "Eventually."
-- Iain M. Banks, "Against a Dark Background"
This page was last modified on 2011 December 20.