Caramelized Spiced Almonds taste like German Christmas Market, but have a smooth instead of bumpy caramel, with deep and rich caramel flavour. They form beautiful, shiny clusters of cinnamon-spice crunchiness, that are great for snacking, gifting or even topping your morning oatmeal with.
Don’t be scared of making caramel! It just takes a few minutes of patience.
Why You Want to Make Them
Reminds you of German Christmas Markets
If you ever visited a German Christmas market and loved the smell of it, these are a big part of what wafted through the air. Often just made with cinnamon and sugar, caramelised, and formed into nubbly crusted almonds by stirring constantly and stopping at the just right point, they are at the heart of every visit.
But that bumpy crust is also the tricky part, as you need to catch the exact moment between sugar crystals and caramel, to achieve it. Also, I tend to find it not particularly kind to my teeth, as it’s a rather thick and hard layer. And more sugar than caramel flavour.
So I changed my technique a little, to still give you the spicy, Christmassy flavour and scent, but a shiny and dark caramel with a bit more flavour to it.
The smoother caramel has another advantage over the classic Christmas Market almonds: It keeps longer. Usually the Candied almonds you’d buy on the market are a sticky mess the day after. These Caramelized Spiced Almonds can be kept in an airtight container for over a week. Which makes them a great gift to make ahead. And aren’t homemade, edible gifts the best ones anyway?
Doesn’t take long
These Caramelized Spiced Almonds take just about 10-15 minutes to make and aren’t hard by any means. 4 ingredients (I count the spice mix as one. Plus you could, if you wanted, just use cinnamon) and a few minutes of melting sugar are all they take.
Almonds – For the most traditional treat you’ll need almonds. Ideally with their skin, as the caramel will adhere better than to skinned ones. Plus they keep more of their nutritional value.
I know…it’s a treat, but still, we can mix the delicious with the good for us!
You could use all sorts of other nuts and seeds you enjoy here too. I love cashews or macadamias, but even sunflower or pumpkin seeds work amazingly well.
Sugar – I’ve used soft brown sugar here, for it’s higher molasses content, resulting in an even deeper caramel flavour. Caster sugar would be more traditional, as it melts faster due to the size of the grains.
Spices – I’m using a mix of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ground ginger and nutmeg here. Balanced with a pinch of salt. And some vanilla extract. You could use just cinnamon, and they will still be utterly delicious.
And that’s already it.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Essentially you add the sugar and spices with a bit of water to a pan, let them come to a boil, then add the almonds.
Let it bubble away for a while, stirring now and then, until the water has evaporated, and the sugar crystallizes again. This is working as intended.
Now leave it on slightly lower heat, until the sugar begins to melt again. Gently fold over the almonds. Then leave to melt further. Be patient and wait until all the sugar is liquidized and transforming into a dark and shiny caramel. Stir again, so all almonds are coated evenly.
Once it has reached the desired darkness without burning, carefully pour the mass onto your parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out with a spatula. My ideal shape is mostly one layer of almonds with the occasional overlap. But arrange them however you enjoy them.
Be quick and careful though, the caramel is very hot and firms up quickly.
Let them cool entirely until crunchy and hard. Then break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week. The almonds will still be delicious after, but the caramel might start to soften a little and not look as shiny anymore.
Looking for more Christmas recipes?
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
Caramelized Spiced Almonds
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp each ground allspice nutmeg, ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 ¼ cup raw almonds
Prepare Baking Sheet:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Create Caramel Mixture:
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the soft brown sugar, water, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground clove, and a pinch of salt.
Bring to a Boil:
- Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow it to bubble for a few minutes until the water has mostly evaporated, and the sugar starts to crystallize.
- Gently stir in the raw almonds, ensuring they are well-coated with the crystallized sugar mixture.
- Let the almonds and sugar mixture cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The sugar will re-melt and caramelize, creating a dark and shiny coating on the almonds. Be patient during this process.
Spread on Baking Sheet:
- Once the caramel has reached the desired darkness without burning, quickly and carefully pour the almond mixture onto the prepared parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread it out, arranging the almonds into a mostly single layer with occasional overlaps.
- Allow the caramelized almonds to cool completely on the baking sheet. The caramel will harden, resulting in a crunchy texture.
Break into Pieces:
- Once fully cooled and hardened, break the caramelized almond mass into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Be cautious, as the caramel will be very hot.
Protein: Approximately 4 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 18 grams
Fat: Approximately 9 grams
Fiber: Approximately 2 grams Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on specific brands and variations in ingredient measurements.