How to make caramelised almonds

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Surely you will also caramelised almonds transport you to fairs and pilgrimages, where there are always stalls where they are sold together with other sweets such as caramel apples or sweets.

But some delicious caramelized almonds are the perfect closure of the Christmas menu, accompanied by other traditional sweets such as nougat,  , the Marzipan, the coquitos, or the Italian panettone. And for Reyes of course, next to roscón.

We can buy caramelized almonds in the supermarket and they will be delicious, but we assure you that when you try these homemade caramelized almonds, you will never abandon them again. It is a simple recipe but it requires a bit of patience and following the steps carefully, without taking your eyes off them, to get perfect caramelized almonds. And with the same recipe, you can also make other nuts.

Recipe for caramelized almonds

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 250 g sugar
  • 200 g of almonds WITH SKIN
  • 350 g of water

How to make caramelized almonds

We put the ingredients in a pan

We are going to use a good frying pan, with a thick bottom, so that the heat is distributed evenly. We recommend a stainless steel pan with non-stick coatings such as this, or a stone one like this. Almonds must be with skin, like the ones we see in the photo; If we use peeled almonds, the caramels will not be good because the sugar does not stick well.

We put all the ingredients together in the pan and we put the fire at medium power. Let’s see that the sugar begins to dissolve and then to take color. We leave it like this, with medium heat, until the caramel begins to bubble and form a kind of foam.

We lower the heat and continue cooking

When the candy starts to bubble we lower the fire. We have to ensure that the caramel maintains a minimum boil but does not burn. So with the low heat we stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, we have to let the water evaporate little by little and the caramel becomes denser. Without stopping stirring, we are going to see how we get to a point where the caramel runs out of the liquid and becomes dry, like grit.

We caramelize the caramelized

When we have sugar like this, dry, which looks like sand, we turn up the fire a bit. We do not have to go up much because we do not want the sugar to melt completely again and we have a caramel. We will go up a little to ensure that the almonds caramelize without sticking to each other. We always keep stirring, in this way the caramel is distributed evenly over the almonds.

When we see that the caramels are done, In other words, the almonds are covered by that characteristic somewhat irregular layer of caramel, as we see in the photo below, we remove them from the pan and distribute them on a sheet of baking paper. With the help of a spatula or spoon, we separate them so that no one is going to remain together, and we let them cool completely. We already have our ready caramelized almonds.

Caramelized almonds with honey

These are not actually caramelized but honey-spiced almonds. They can go very well with sweets but also as an aperitif, depending on the spices you use.

Ingredients: 350 g raw almonds with skin; 1 tablespoon (soup) of honey; 50 g of sugar; 1 teaspoon (for dessert) of oil; 1 tablespoon of water; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger; 1 teaspoon of flaked salt (optional, if you want to take them as an aperitif or if you like the salty touch).

We bake the almonds for 10 minutes at 175 ° C, be careful not to burn. In a large bowl we mix the sugar with the spices (and the salt if we want to use it). 2 minutes before removing the almonds from the heat, put the honey, oil, and water in the pan and bring to a boil. We remove the almonds from the oven and put them in the pan, stir until they are completely covered by honey. We put the almonds into the bowl with the sugar and stir so that the sugar and spice mixture adheres well to all the almonds. Pour the almonds on baking paper and separate them, let them dry well.

Tips for making perfect caramels

Attention to burns

As you know, the candy takes a high temperature and the burns are not pleasant, so we will be careful at all times. It is important to use a wooden stirring utensil and not a metal one so that it does not get hot. They can also be silicone with a wooden handle, such as these.

Add flavors and spices

If you want to give a special touch to your caramelized you can add vanilla sugar, vanilla essence, or cinnamon to the ingredients. You can also use this recipe to garnish other nuts.

Be patient

Do Caramelised Almonds is easy, but don’t be in a hurry. We have to follow the steps we have seen, always stir, and keep an eye on them, because the sugar burns into nothing and they will taste bitter if this happens. You will need 30 minutes of time.

Clean the pan

When we have finished with our almonds we will have the dirty caramel pan, and cleaning it as we usually do does not work because the caramel does not come off. But do not worry because it is very easy to wash it, we just have to fill it with water and put it on the fire, when the caramel has completely dissolved we rinse and wash in the usual way.

How to keep them and for how long.

The caramelized almonds last well a month in an airtight jar, preferably glass (you can buy it here). We will put the jar in a dry and dark place, like the cupboard.

Cheer up with this recipe for caramelized almonds because it will give you many satisfactions.

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Hoppin ‘John Recipe |  Serious eating

Hoppin ‘John Recipe | Serious eating


[Photographs: Jillian Atkinson]

There are a lot of stories behind Hoppin ‘Johnand probably even more versions of the recipe. I grew up in Deep South, where Hoppin ‘John – a dish made with rice and peas – was always served on New Year’s Day along with our greens and cornbread. But it was not referred to just one day of the year.

While Hoppin ‘John was supposed to bring prosperity and good luck to the new year, rice dishes with a casserole made with almost anything were a part of the table at regular intervals, and courts of all kinds were always in our diets. I did not find out until I was much older that cowpeas are not known to most people outside of the Deep South. Only when I got older did I realize that Hoppin ‘John I grew up eating and what other people call Hoppin’ John are very different.

Not only had I never had the dish made with the black-eyed peas that many used, but I had never had it does not made with rice, meat and peas cooked together. Plain boiled rice with peas on top was just … rice with peas on top, and mixing them together after that just seemed like it defeated the purpose of making them separately.

I had also noticed that we – people from the lowlands of Georgia, South Carolina and other nearby areas – made rice that had more color for it because we used field pies to make our Hoppin ‘John. Often called “southern peas”, field peas are the close cousins ​​of black-eyed peas; both are types of koerter, although naming and classification can be confusing, as different regions use the terms differently and often interchangeably.

But to me, they are not all the same. The brownish-red skins from the markers I grew up with give the rice a beautiful almost reddish color, and their taste is a little sweeter and more nutty than the one with black eyes. Cooking them all together with a flavorful broth made from smoked meats and aromatics gives impressive flavor to the white long-grain rice you choose to use.

It took me a while to learn that there was a reason most people now use black-eyed peas instead of marker peas. During the great migration out of the deep south of black peoples, people still carried on their traditions, even when they could not carry the ingredients. Coars in all shapes, sizes and colors are found all over the country, but these very specific field pies were only found in the south. So when the people moved, they adapted and used another, albeit well-known, substitute in the form of the black eye.

Over the years, I have seen other adaptations where people make the classic dish their own way of fitting into their lifestyle. Some people swear by bacon in their Hoppin ‘John, and although I do not feel it is necessary given the smoked meat already in there, feel free to add some rendered crispy bacon at the end while you fluff the rice , so a bit of its crisp texture is left. Or you can use bacon instead of the smoked ham hock required in the recipe, or add them both together! I did not grow up eating much or any pork at all, so we used smoked turkey (necks, tails, wings whatever you could find) instead of ham-hash or salty pork often found in recipes, and we added beef bacon (or no bacon at all) instead.

I’ve even seen vegetarian versions done that contain no smoked meat at all, and instead the grains and legumes get their flavor from cooking the peas in vegetable broth.

My recipe starts with slow cooking the smoked meat in water so that it falls apart, leaving a broth that is not only deep and rich, but that makes your whole house smell good. Then I cook the peas in the same broth with just a few spices and seasonings. The last step is to add parboiled rice and cook the dish in the oven until the rice is fluffy, each grain is dry enough to keep all the ingredients separate but still tender.

Even I have not mastered the art of making Hoppin ‘John with traditional Carolina Gold rice, which should be cooked differently than your average medium or long grain rice you find in stores. I have found that parboiled rice is one of the best options for soft grains that are tender but still dry enough not to be glued together.

For that purpose, I also use the oven for the final cooking phase. Even after many years of practice, I still can not reliably perform the whole process on the stove, where my rice sometimes turns into mash – something I am sure many, many grandmothers and aunts shamelessly shake their heads at me for. Fortunately, the oven delivers a more gentle heat that boils the rice through from all sides without the risk of scorching or requires stirring or overcooking that can release starch and push Hoppin ‘John in the direction of what we call a “mash. It also steers the rice away from developing a mushroom-like or risotto-like consistency, where the grains are wetter and more liquid is left in the pan.

This recipe easily feeds six to eight people, and although it could be scaled down, it is a dish usually served with friends and family, especially during the holidays. The more you make (and eat), the more prosperity you will have in the new year.



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Sini Manti (Armenian baked lamb manti) recipe

Sini Manti (Armenian baked lamb manti) recipe


[Photographs: Andrew Janjigian]

Until a few years ago, eating manti was a Christmas Eve ritual for my extended Armenian family. In the weeks before the holiday, the women in the family gathered at the weekend at my Aunt Esther’s house to make the little buns, which they then freeze. Hours and hours (and hours) of work went into making enough mantis to feed a few dozen people for a meal they had been looking forward to eating all year round. And then it would be over, and we would all have to wait another year.

Manti is common to many Central and West Asian dishes, small packets of spicy minced lamb or beef surrounded by thin wheat dough wraps that are typically steamed or cooked. Armenian manti, sometimes called “sini manti”, however, is a little different. The diminutive, canoe-shaped and open face bun is baked until crispy instead and served in a tomato-infused meat broth, finished with a dollop of yogurt, chopped garlic and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper and sumac powder. For me, this is the ultimate manti, as the combination of flavors and textures is unparalleled: crunchy-crispy dumplings, their corners gently softened by the warm, aromatic broth, paired with the cool, sour yogurt, all in the light of slightly spicy , fruity and sour garnish.

Unfortunately, as my family members got older and the schedules got busier, we let this annual ritual fall by the wayside. I use “we” here, even though the decision in truth was never up to me or any of the other men in my family, as we never even participated in the work of making manti. When the women in our clan decided that they no longer had the time or energy to make manti for Christmas Eve, it was a sad but completely understandable moment in light of the work involved.

That’s why I wanted to create a manti recipe for you here to bring our family tradition back, albeit only in recipe form. I used my aunt Esther’s manti recipe as inspiration and starting point for my own. I have streamlined her process a bit by resorting to labor and time-saving tools like a pasta roll and pressure cooker, and I have taken myself free with the dough formula a bit, but for the most part I have tried to remain true to the spirit of her recipe and result.

As with all stuffed dumplings, manties are best made in a group setting where the job of rolling, cutting, filling and shaping can be shared between many people. So far, of course, it is not an option, but I can say that during many rounds of recipe testing, my wife and I had no problem making many hundreds of manties alone, just the two of us. We also had no problem eating them all ourselves.



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