Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds & Caramels!

'Tis the season for one of my favorite activities...making my home smell delicious by making Cinnamon Roasted Almonds and Caramels.

I bet this year my neighbors are worried that they won't get Kimmie's Holiday Treats! I am running VERY behind this year. We usually have our holiday treats made and delivered by the second week in December.
(Date Night December 2009
taken with Tracy's iPhone)

I just LOVE going to the mall during the holidays and smelling the aroma of the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds. It is heavenly and something that I never tire of.
9 years ago we had a family event and Mrs. Taylor brought a bowl of homemade cinnamon almonds and I loved and ranted and raved so much about them that a week later I got a sweet letter in the mail from her with the recipe.


I have been making them ever since

and Christmas wouldn't be the same if family and friends didn't receive this yummyness from our family. I don't know how many people tell me that this is what they look forward to all Christmas more than anything else is these boxes of goodies. Some parents have been known to take the boxes from the kids and then eat them after the kids have gone to bed.
A few years ago almonds were double the normal price and I didn't want to let people down and so I gave smaller amounts of almonds and also filled the boxes with some caramels as well, to make up for the small amount of almonds we were giving.
We had just seen the GRINCH movie a few days before... I was making up licorice caramels and didn't have any black food coloring and so I started adding in blue and green hoping that the brown color of the caramels and these colors would turn it a blackish/grey color. However, it just turned an ugly green color. Jade commented that it looks like the color of the GRINCH and so we nicknamed them GRINCH caramels and it has become a Christmas tradition to give
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Vanilla AND Grinch Caramels

for our neighborhood goodie boxes.

As long as you have a candy thermometer, almonds, cinnamon, sugar, water, salt and vanilla...
it's as easy as 1, 2, 3...
can make up this yummy treat and the aroma that will fill your house will make you feel like you are out Christmas Shopping at the mall!
(only you don't have to deal with the hassle of large crowds of people)

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

Roast 3 cups of whole almonds in a 350* oven for 15 minutes,
stirring every 5 minutes (so they don’t burn).

Mix together:
1-cup sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until soft ball stage.
Remove from heat and add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
Pour mixture on the roasted almonds and stir until set and starts to turn white.
Put on wax paper to cool. Break apart. Enjoy!!

Chewy Caramels (vanilla or licorice)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
1-1/2 cup Karo Syrup
1 cup butter

1-2 Tbsp anise flavoring (depending upon how much licorice flavor you want)
Black food coloring (if you don’t have black add in a few drops of green
that will make the Taffy a licorice green color).

Cook first 5 ingredients to firm ball (235*) stirring occasionally so as not to burn.
Stir in anise flavoring—add food coloring.
Pour in dripper pan and cool.
Cut into squares and wrap in wax paper.

VANILLA caramels

After you have brought ingredients to firm ball stage remove from heat
and add in 1-2 tsp vanilla (instead of anise extract)
Pour in dripper pan and cool. Cut into squares and wrap in wax paper Enjoy!

"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other"

I'm feeling SO grateful for Traditions and for having a family that brings true JOY to each and every day of my life!
Life is Wonderful.... Life is Good!


The Garden of Egan said...

LOVE IT! Grinch caramels! I love making holiday treats too.

We had your Tortilla Soup last night. It was a hit and everyone loved it.
So easy.
Thanks for being such an awesome person and sharing recipes and taking pictures of them. It makes it so much easier for me when I can "cook by the numbers".
Hope you have a great day!

Ann Marie said...

Grinch caramels! ha-ha... to fun!

I thought our family was the only one in the world that made the licorice kind. I have never had them anywhere but in my family.. so it was fun to see you of course make them.. :) Yummy!!

Those almonds smell soooo good.
I can almost smell them through the net.. * wink*

Connie said...

I bought 15 pounds of raw almonds last week! I assume I could use the raw almonds! Looks delicious. And your, they look so good and soft and scrumptious. I've never had licorice caramels I bet they're good!Your neighbors have something to look forward to now!
Enjoy this week before Christmas!

C Smith said...

I think I better leave the caramel making up to you. Today I made the licorice caramels and while they taste delicious, they got a little too hard and were almost impossible to cut. Next time I will use a thermometer instead of trying to "eye ball" firm ball stage. :) Also I had some gel food coloring so mine got really green. They were definitely grinch! So delicious but not nice and soft/chewy quite like yours. Maybe I'll try one more batch. Thanks for your help on the phone. Your little tip did help but darn I wish I would of let them cool at room temp and scored them when still soft. :( boo.

C Smith said...

3rd time is the charm. 1st batch..too hard, 2nd batch...too soft, 3rd batch...perfect. At our low elevation you need to take to about 143-145. Cutting with buttered pizza roller was easier than knife. Everyone loves them! Thx for your help!