For the past 2 Christmases, my niece Meghan and I have undertaken massive baking for the traditional family brunch…and, btw, we totally rock it. One of our favorite recipes is Cinnamon Bun Popcorn from Our Best Bites. It’s pretty easy to make, and is beyond delicious!! What I love the best about it is the little caramel-y crumbles that you end up with from the pecan pieces. That led me to this experiment.
I had a bunch of almonds left over from Christmas, due to my failed attempts (multiple) at making Burnt Sugar Almonds. So I used the Cinnamon Bun Popcorn recipe – eliminated the popcorn – cut the rest of the recipe in half – and here’s how that went.
Started with my brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup and microwaved that in 1 minute intervals until it was bubbly. Then I added the baking soda and vanilla to get the super cool foamy reaction that makes this so fun.
As soon as I finished mixing in the baking soda and vanilla, I just went ahead and dumped my almonds right into the bowl and started mixing it all together. I could do that since this was just half of the recipe; if I had gone full-size, I’d have needed a much bigger bowl and would have poured the caramel goodness over the almonds, instead of the other way around.
Anyway, I got the almonds all nicely coated and then spread them out on my foil-covered jelly roll pan. I really had no idea how this was gonna go from here, but I went ahead and slid them in the oven, nicely preheated to 250.
The recipe calls for 30 minutes baking time, but I let these go for about 45 minutes, still stirring every 10 minutes or so. When I pulled them out, they smelled really good…but they still looked like they might be a little wet. I decided to just let them sit for a while…and eventually, I guess everything sort of settled, and when I checked them again, I had nice crunchy sugary caramel-y almonds!
These actually turned out pretty much like I had wanted my Burnt Sugar Almonds to do at Christmas. That was a stovetop recipe, and it was like the sugar just never ever reduced and dried like it should. SO – apparently – an oven-baked option is what I needed! Yay for experiments that work out okay! The almonds are yummy – not like groundbreakingly so – but definitely worth the effort and great for snacking. So I recommend giving it a try! I’m sure this approach would work great with pecans, since they’re in the original recipe…and possibly any other kind of nut. Yum!
OH! Remember how I mentioned that Max needs moderation when it comes to biscuits? Here’s what happened while the pantry was open and I was stirring all this stuff together: