Caramel Crunch Almonds

How about a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen? These are a great gift and delicious to have around! They remind me of my beloved chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s but with the addition of a thin layer of caramel.  With only a cup and a half of almonds, they make a big Tupperware full. 

I tried a few coatings, but I like the bigger chunked sugar for maximum sparkly-ness. 

This is the exact sugar I used. Sparkling sugar is a great name for it! I tried some with finer sugar, and it just wasn’t as good. 

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) water
1 1/2 cup (205 grams or 7 1/4 ounces) whole almonds
1/2 teaspoon flaky (or regular) salt
8 ounces (225 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips
Sanding or sparkling sugar or sprinkles to coat

To coat almonds in caramel: Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside. 

In a heavy-bottomed 3 to 4-quart saucepan, bring sugar and water to a simmer. Add almonds and stir to coat them in the syrup. Simmer over medium heat until they are caramelized. It will become thicker and bubbly. Important: Once the liquid evaporates, it will become sandy and you’ll be tempted to lose the faith (like I did at first). Keep stirring hard until it liquifies again into caramel. Remove from heat and keep stirring until the almonds are completely coated. Put pan back on the heat if needed to liquify. Stir in the salt (don’t forget this step!) and spread in single, separated layer on the cookie sheet.

Set in freezer for about 5 minutes until hardened, and break caramels into individual nuts if needed. Place sanding sugar or sprinkles in flat bowl(s), with a couple forks nearby to roll the almonds.

Melt chocolate most of the way (microwave or double boiler), and pour almonds in and stir to coat evenly. Use fork to take almonds out one by one and drop into coating. I found it’s easiest to use one hand to move the almond and one hand to vigorously shake the coating bowl; in my bowl, I could do several at a time this way. Put coated nuts back on baking sheet. Note: This takes a hot minute to do and a few minutes to master!

Set them in the freezer till set, maybe 15 minutes, and then box or bag them up. They keep months at room temperature.

What do you think?