Brændte mandler/ candied roasted almonds

Brændte mandler

These almonds are being sold in the streets in Denmark around Christmas. Vendors cooks batch after batch in large copper pans, the smell is the smell of Christmas! The almonds are roasted/ toasted and coated with crispy caramel.

This is my version with some Christmas spices.

This recipe can be tweaked as you like- leave out the spices if you don’t like them. It’s very simple and the secret is to have patience- beyond what you think you need- a big spoon to stir and be prepared to stir a lot and for a long time. Don’t stop till the almonds are glossy and roasted through- too many people stop too early. The sugar will be too crystallized and the almonds not crunchy enough.

  1. Mix in a heavy big pan with high sides 1/3 cup of water with 2 cups of sugar, a pinch of vanilla, cinnamon, ground ginger, a tiny pinch of salt, cocoa powder and 300-350 gr of almonds ( with the skin on) and put it on medium heat. Stir and stir. The sugar will melt with the water and spices and cover the almonds- but they are not done yet! The name “ Brændte mandler” means ‘burned almonds’ ( directly translated)- so no, they are far from done.
  2. At some point the sugar will crystallize and it’ll all be lumpy and ugly looking. And too many ppl stop here, thinking they failed. They didn’t- only by stopping too early. Keep the heat on, stir and stir as you don’t want the caramel to burn, but to slowly melt and cover the almonds again- this time without the water in the mixture- and the almonds will be roasted.
  3. Stir and stir- until all the caramel has melted and is again covering the almonds. Sprinkle a pinch of baking powder ( not baking soda!) on them when the sugar has melted. You’ll know when they are ready when all the almonds are covered and you hear a slight crackling sound. Then they are ready- not before! You want them as glossy as you can and as roasted as possible.
  4. Spread the almonds out on a baking tray- either very slightly sprayed with oil ( a flavor neutral one)or on a silicone mat- separate them all – and now you have to throw all the patience away and act really fast before the almonds sticks together.
  5. Leave the almonds to cool off completely – and then store them in an airtight container.

I often sprinkle a touch of chili powder over the almonds in step 3. If you do it from the beginning it can burn too fast and leaving your eyes to burn🌶

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