I love Vienna Almonds. In the basement of the Queen Victoria Building, sweet caramelised nuts can be smelt by people walking to or from Town Hall station. I am very tempted every time I walk by there to pick up some of their tasty macadamia, cashews or almonds coated in lovely caramel. Other little stalls used to make Vienna almonds around Christmas, but I can no longer find any of them set up, so if you’re not able to get your hands on some… make them yourself.
These are not too hard to make (I say after only succeeding on my third try – this was years ago now, and I had no sugar thermometer). I tended to lack a bit of patience with some things and waiting for sugar water to caramelize and turn golden is a bit scary. I thought it was changing colour a lot earlier than it was and then the whole thing was stuffed up – the almonds were left coated in chunks of sugar (let me know if you want to see my failed attempts). I also found if I hadn’t roasted the almonds, the extra moisture or oils would also cause havoc with the caramel.
They taste great by themselves or incorporated in desserts (see my next recipe…). I’m sure you could also use macadamias or cashews in this recipe, it is on my long list of things to make.
Recipe from A self-proclaimed foodaholic (I think this is where I found the recipe – it was so long ago, I didn’t take note). My changes in italics
250g whole blanched almonds (I use raw almonds as this is what I am used to)
125g caster sugar
60 ml water
1 vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla essence or imitation vanilla)
Roast the almonds in the oven for 15 minutes to remove the oil and add some colour to it. The oil will prevent the caramel from sticking to the almonds, so, the oil should be removed by roasting it, or blanching it.
Cook sugar, water and vanilla beans without stirring to about 124°C. that should be when the colour is slowly turning to golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. Then add in the almonds and then stir so that the almonds are well coated with caramel. Stir in butter. Pour out onto oiled surface or baking paper and separate them.
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