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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Almendras Garrapiñadas (Candied Almonds)

Almendras Garrapiñadas (Candied Almonds) on sale at a fiesta in La Orotava.

Almendras Garrapiñadas (Candied Almonds) are an indispensable part of every fiesta in Spain, but are also popular at Christmas. They're also fairly common in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, being frequently sold at Christmas markets. If they don't happen to be on sale near you, perhaps you might like to have a go at making them yourself from this recipe:

  • 200 grams of almonds with skin
  • 250 grams of granulated sugar 
  • 250 grams of water (a quarter of a liter of water)
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar or 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence 

  1. Put the water, sugar and almonds into a saucepan. Add an envelope of vanilla sugar (about 8 grams) or a spoonful of vanilla essence. Put the saucepan over medium heat and you will see how the sugar dissolves into the water and begins taking on the color of the almond skin. (If you use almonds without skin, the caramel is not good, and the caramel will not take on the skin color of the almonds.) Maintain over medium heat until the syrup that forms begins to boil and foams.
  2. Lower the heat, so that the boil is maintained minimally, without raising the temperature of the syrup. Stir with a wooden spatula (do not use a metal one or you will burn yourself) and the water will evaporate and the syrup will be reduced. It is not possible to evaporate the water without lowering the temperature so do not look for shortcuts in this or it will burn everything (if it smells like burning, you've gone wrong).
  3. At this point the syrup will appear to contain sand and then all the water will disappear leaving a completely dry sandy mixture. Do not stop stirring constantly.
  4. Now raise the temperature, but only a little. (If you raise the heat too much, all the sugar will turn into caramel and the almonds will stick to each other.) So turn up the heat just a little so that the sugar caramelizes, little by little. Stir constantly so that the caramel is wrapped around the almonds being quite loose from each other.
  5. When the caramelized almonds are ready, place them on baking paper. When they are somewhat less hot, but without letting them cool completely, separate the ones that have remained together and then let them cool completely. 

Whenever you work with sugar and heat you have to be very careful with burns. Candy is one of the hottest things in a kitchen and its burn is very serious. 

If the almonds are well caramelized they will last in an airtight container for several weeks, but it's very doubtful that they'll last long enough for you to find out!

Translated from: Receta para hacer Almendras Garrapiñadas