One of the things I used to love about New York in the fall and winter months were the sidewalk carts selling hot, fresh candied nuts. You can buy roasted almonds, pecans, cashews and more, all coated in cinnamon sugar goodness. There were the perfect sweet and crunchy snack and I am missing them more as the cooler weather sets in.
So I was delighted to discover just how easy it is to make candied nuts right at home. All you need is some sugar and spices, and you can make this indulgent little treat right on your stovetop in 15 minutes flat.
For my version, I use roasted almonds to create the perfect sweet snack… and I gave them a spicy kick with chili powder and cayenne pepper added to the sugary coating. The result — sweet & spicy candied almonds that are a crunchy, addictive treat that packs some spice and some heat.
Sugar and spice and everything nice…
Making candied almonds is an easy, one pot process. To start, just add some sugar, brown sugar and water to a small saucepan.
To that, add in a generous amount of cinnamon, some chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. I use a teaspoon in this recipe, and it’s not that spicy. So feel free to kick up the cayenne if you really want to heat things up.
Get all those elements going on the stove and bring the mixture to rolling boil. Once it’s boiling, add in a few cups of almonds, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
From there, it’s just a matter of cooking out all the liquid until you’re left with a sticky candy coating. It will take about 10 minutes for the candy to form, so be patient, and make sure you are CONSTANTLY STIRRING the mixture so that nothing burns or sticks in the process.
For the first few minutes, it will seem like the almonds are just swimming in a thick sauce, but over time, the water will evaporate, and the mixture will become stringy and gooey like caramel, before completely crystallizing on the outside of the almonds.
At that point, you can spread the almonds out on a baking sheet to cool down. Use a fork to break up clumps if any have formed (I didn’t have any clumps last time I made this).
You can store these candied almonds in an airtight container for a week or two. But if you ask me, fresh and hot is the best way to eat them.
Let me know if you give these Sweet & Spicy Candied Almonds a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Sweet & Spicy Candied Almonds
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 2 Cups Raw Almonds
- Combine all the ingredients except the almonds in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the almonds to the sauce pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the liquid evaporates and the almonds candy. The mixture will get thick, sticky, and a little stringy before crystallizing on the almonds. Be patient, this will take a good 7-10 minutes.
- Once the almonds are candied, spread them on to a baking sheet, use a fork to break up clumps if there are any, and let cool.