Mandeln….Roast Sugared Almonds

It’s Christmas time! 🙂 I absolutely LOVE this time of year! The run-up is almost more enjoyable than the actually day….seeing the Coco Cola advert on TV, watching the Late Late Toy Show (it’s an Irish thing 😉 ), wandering through the Saturday market stocking up on goodies, carol singers, the Christmas lights in the city, mulled wine, mince pies and decorating the house! 🙂

We’re going to put our tree up tomorrow evening, so I’ve been busy making lots of treats for a Christmassy evening decorating the house. I plan on making a few batches of mince pies this evening, recipe to follow. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked mince pies to get you into the Christmas spirit.

I spent a year in Germany a couple years back. Absolutely loved my time there. My favourite time of the year was the Weihnachsmarkt in the run up to Christmas. Mulled wine and crepes. And Mandeln. Mandeln are roasted sugared almonds and are so delicious and  addictive – as well as easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole almonds

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

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Butter a roasting pan and set aside.

Place the almonds, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the almonds are toasted. This process should take about 10 minutes.

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Once the mixture starts to become sticky and caramelized  stir in the vanilla extract. Immediately pour the mixture onto your buttered baking sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt for extra flavour. Leave to cool for approximately half an hour.

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This is such an easy recipe and is a nice snack alternative to crisps or sweets. It’s homemade and the kitchen smells so deliciously sweet and Christmassy afterwards! 🙂
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I’ll be baking my mince pies this evening so I’ll share a couple more recipes over the next couple days…..as we countdown to Christmas! 🙂

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The BEST Homemade Granola Recipe Ever

Seriously. This is the best granola recipe ever. I’ve tried many recipes and this one just has the perfect combination of fruit, nuts and seeds. It’s expensive to make, but yields about 130 portions (30 g portions). Great for healthy snacks and hearty breakfasts 🙂

As I mentioned, it is expensive to make and works out the same price as buying Granola pre-made in a supermarket. But at €0.28 per portion and knowing that it’s your own home-made, chemical- and additive-free recipe, it’s a lot more satisfying!

Ingredients:
8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup honey
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup dried mango chunks
1 cup shredded coconut

Pre-heat oven to 165C. Line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, sunflower seeds,almonds, pecans and walnuts. Stir salt, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Then pour over dry ingredients and stir well.

Bake at 150C until crisp and toasted (approx 20 mins) Stir once mid-way through to ensure it toasts evenly. Add shredded coconut 10 minutes before end. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool, then stir in the dried fruit.

Of course this recipe is open to interpretation. You can vary the types of nuts: hazelnuts, pistachios, etc. Or vary the fruit and add raisins or sultanas. Personally, I don’t like either 😉

I love a generous bowl with strawberries, a spoonful of natural yoghurt and soy milk – delicious!

Enjoy! 🙂