Overloading the Machine

Caramel Almonds

Recipes / Snacks

From The Boston Globe Magazine, 2004 December 5

Makes about 2 cups.

  • Vegetable oil (for the sheet)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cuups unblanched whole almonds

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.

This page was last modified on 2011 December 20.