From time to time I get in the mood for toffee coated peanuts or almonds. A few evenings ago I decided to start making this simple but tasty snack. It goes well with almost any beverage, as it is both sweet and salty. I found an Internet recipe, thought about it and made a few modifications to suit me. I am pleased with the result so I decided to share this recipe. Why pay more for something that you can make easily at home?
2 cups of blanched almonds or peanuts
1/3 cup of sugar
¾ cup of water
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Turn the oven on and set it to 300ºF.
If necessary, blanch the raw almonds or peanuts to remove the skins. To blanch, put the nuts into a saucepan and cover them with water. Then heat the water to boiling on high heat. After 30 seconds remove the saucepan from the heat and dump the nuts into a sieve and then spray them with cold water, mixing them by hand to make sure they are cool. Empty the nuts onto a plate or cookie sheet and squeeze the skins off between your finger and thumb. Discard the skins.
Add all of the ingredients into a 10" diameter non-stick skillet or a two quart non-stick saucepan.
Heat the skillet or saucepan on medium heat while mixing the contents with a wooden spoon until the mixture boils.
Reduce the heat to low and continue mixing it gently until most of the water boils off and the mixture becomes thick. This should take about five minutes. Do not let the mixture or the nuts burn. If necessary lower the heat.
Transfer the coated nuts and any extra toffee to a cookie sheet, spreading the nuts out evenly so they are only one layer thick.
Put the cookie sheet into the pre-heated 300ºF oven and roast the toffee coated nuts for 15 minutes.
Stir the nuts to assure even roasting and even coating of them with the toffee.
Roast the nuts for an additional 15 minutes.
Transfer the nuts to a bowl and let them cool to room temperature.
The nuts will be best if they are allowed to lose moisture for an hour or two or even overnight. They should be crunchy inside with a thin shiny shell of sweet and slightly salty toffee all over the surface of each nut.
I have yet to try this variation but it is all about thickening the coating of toffee on the nuts. A second batch of the toffee coating is made after the first roasting of the toffee coated nuts. The second batch of toffee is heated to the soft crack stage, which is 280º F. The previously coated nuts are then put into the second batch of hot toffee, mixed, and quickly returned to the tray and spread out evenly for the second roasting cycle of only about five minutes. The double layers approach should both thicken the toffee and make it quite crunchy. I’m looking forward to trying it.