Gebrannte Mandeln (“Burnt” Almonds)
Gebrannte Mandeln (“Burnt” Almonds) are addictive, sweet and crunchy nuts that are traditional Christmas time German staple at markets and festivals. They are equally as enjoyable year-round, including Oktoberfest with some nice German beer (may I recommended trying Austin based Live Oak Brewing’s Hefeweizen).
While it would be outstanding, you don’t have to travel to Munich to enjoy Gebrannte Mandeln (“Burnt” Almonds). All you need is about 30 minutes and five simple ingredients to whip up a batch of German Gebrannte Mandeln (“Burnt” Almonds) in your own home.
Two areas of caution before you begin though: 1.) The intoxicating aroma will have neighbors from blocks away knocking on your door, 2.) Do NOT plan on doing anything else while making the nuts. They require your undivided attention and they are worth it. Ready. Set. Let’s go!
- 3 cups raw almonds (approx 1lb if buying from bulk)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (I like mine really spicy; you can use 1 tbsp if you please)
- Optional: 1/2 tsp extra fine granulated Himalayan Sea Salt for finishing.
Pour water, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon into a deep stainless skill or copper SKILLET (NOT A POT and no non-stick; 10″ or 12″ size works well). Using a large wooden spoon, stir all ingredients together over medium high heat until small bubbles begin to form across the top.
When the melted sugar blend looks like the photo above, carefully add the almonds. Sugar is HOT! Coat nuts evenly and stir often for 5 minutes.
After about 5 minutes, you should notice the water has evaporated and a syrup has begun to form. This is when you REALLY don’t want to look away! Let that phone ring! Ignore the barking dog! Stir constantly for an additional 2 minutes, being sure to scrape the side of the skillet (this is why I prefer using one with rounded sides).
When the nuts start to look like the ones in the photo above, you are ALMOST done and it will happen quickly. Lower heat to medium and keep stirring until the sugar almost begins to crystallize and nuts are fully coated. Remove immediately and spread on a large sheet pan covered with parchment or a Silpat. Caution: the nuts will still be really hot. Using an additional wooden spoon, spread and separate nuts forming a single layer (separate any almonds that are stuck together). Let cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy warm or serve at room temperature.
Recipe notes: you can add or substitute other types of nuts if you’d like. I made a sample batch using Pumpkin Pie Spice in lieu of cinnamon and I think they make a great fall American-inspired treat.
Candied Almonds also make great gifts and are fun to share. Fill cellophane bags and tie with ribbon or use the more traditional KinderCones (Zuckertüte) as shown below. There are several tutorials on how to make your own (e.g., YouTube) or you can purchase similar type festive bags (e.g., AMAZON). Remember to always have fun in the kitchen! Prost!
HERE ARE OTHER OKTOBERFEST RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Aromatic Currywurst by What to Cook Today
- Hot Cheese Dip with Onions and Gruyere by Cooks With Cocktails
- Bratkartoffein (German-Style Pan Fried Potatoes with Bacon by Ciao Chow Bambina
- Bratwurst Burger by Beyond the Bayou
- German Pan Fried Trout by Burrata and Bubbles
- Schnitzel Platter by Craft Beering
- Cinnamon Streusel Muffins with Hefeweizen Drizzle by Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats
- Danube Waves Cake by The Itsy Bitsy Kitchen
- Bavarian Cream Donuts by Pies and Tacos