No Christmas market or fair in Austria is complete without roasted almonds. In German, they are called gebrannte Mandeln (“burnt almonds”) or Wiener Mandeln (“Viennese Almonds”). The sugar-coated nuts are absolutely addictive and have always been one of my favorite snacks at fairs and Octoberfest. The sweet treat is so much part of the German/Austrian culture that specialty shops also sell them at German cultural events in the States – but they are expensive, and the problem is that I am always tempted to eat my weight in roasted almonds. So I was excited to learn that these nuts can also be made at home without any special equipment – it takes a lot of stirring, but the whole house smells of sugar and cinnamon for days afterwards, so it pays off. So no more waiting for special events with vendors to enjoy the roasted almonds!
Here is the recipe that has worked well for me.
- 350 gram or 1.8 cups of sugar
- 2 packages of vanilla sugar
- 100 ml or 0.6 cup of water
- 400 gram or nearly a pound of raw whole almonds
- cinnamon to taste (I usually use a lot, so about 2 table spoons)
On medium heat bring the cinnamon, sugar, vanilla sugar, and water to a boil in a large pan [I use a Wok since that is the only large non-stick pan I have]. Add the almonds and stir until the sugar is dry again. This will take a while – 15 minutes or more. Continue stirring until the sugar starts to slightly melt again and the almonds start to shine [this will take another 5 minutes or so]. Empty the almonds onto a backing sheet, divide them if stuck together, and let them cool. Keep in an airtight container. I have no idea how long the almonds will stay fresh since they usually are eaten in a few days in my house.