Close your eyes, and the warm, fragrant scent of these brown sugar candied almonds will make you think you’re in a old fashioned Christmas market, holding a paper cone filled with this perfect holiday snack!
There’s something about the warm and fragrant scent of nuts at Christmas time. They feel like the perfect indulgent snack: a little less sugar than say, a molasses crinkle cookie, but still a real treat!
I love serving spiced and candied nuts during the holidays, and my kids would actually rather snack on these than a cookie! They’re great for putting out as a part of a holiday treat table, or as a “little something” to help hold people over between big holiday meals.
Almonds and Christmas have a long history, which we most closely associate with the Christmas markets of Germany and other northern European countries.
I really loved reading about the history of the Christmas Market tradition here. It’s a pretty quick read, packed with all kinds of wonderful history about this festive tradition.
Did you know that Christmas markets can be dated back to the 13th century? I think that’s amazing!
These brown sugar candied almonds have a little less sugar than what you’d probably find in a modern Christmas market, but they’re sweet, crunchy, toasty, and fragrantly delicious.
While cinnamon is the most common traditional seasoning for candied almonds, I also especially adore these with a hint of orange or vanilla! Check out the recipe for tips on how to make a few of my favorite flavor variations.
Just like with some of the popular Christmas Market stalls, it might be fun to make a few different flavors of these brown sugar candied almonds and and serve them next to each other in big bowls with little scoops.
Try making some of these adorable paper cones out of brown kraft paper, or bright Christmas colored papers, and put them out instead of plates or bowls, so guests can dish their own almonds!
- 2.5 cups raw almonds
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Bake almonds until toasted and fragrant - about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove almonds, and turn off the oven.
- In a saucepan large enough to hold the almonds (when the time comes), add sugar, butter, and water.
- Cook on medium low heat, stirring continually, until mixture lightens in color and begins to crystalize on the edge of the pan. Remove pan from heat.
- Add flavor extract and give a quick stir, then immediately add the toasted almonds, stirring until evenly coated with the brown sugar mixture.
- Spread the coated almonds back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, and separate with forks if necessary, to prevent large clumps.
- Return almonds to the warm oven for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool before serving.
For traditional cinnamon flavor, substitute 1 tsp cinnamon instead of the flavoring.
Food-grade, dietary essential oils may be used instead of the flavor extract. Substitute just THREE drops of essential oil for the extract. Young Living's orange essential oil has become my personal favorite flavor variation for this recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 11mg Carbohydrates: 12g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
You’ll notice that unlike many of the “burnt sugar” recipes out there, this method calls for toasting the almonds before coating them in the sugar mixture – which is cooked separately. I find that this method results in almonds that are freshly-toasted all the way through, without being actually burned on the outside – an unfortunate mishap that’s very common with the one-pot methods.
I hope you love these sweet and crunchy little brown sugar candied almonds as much as my family does!