Maple-Sesame Candied Almonds
I love nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, etc. I get this from my mom. My mom used to have them all over the house when I was growing up. Even now, she has them in the cabinets, in the fridge, on the coffee table, and even in her car.
I used to make fun of her when I was little, but now, I get it. They are good with just about anything and good for just about any occasion. And I especially love candied nuts. I used to buy tons from Trader Joe’s. My husband used to joke that I keep them in business. I rarely buy them now, because they are so easy to make at home.
One of my favorites is the sesame-coated almonds. You can make this several different ways. You can make this in a pan with maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar. Add the sesame seeds in the middle or at the end. You can also make this in the oven with maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar. Mix up all the ingredients and roast them in the oven. I’ve tested them all. I’m semi-OCD that way – although my husband would tell you that there is no “semi” about it. Luckily, he loves being my
guinea pig taster.
If you prepare the almonds solely using a pan on a stove top (my method of choice usually), so much of the sesame seeds will end up stuck to the pan despite oiling the pan. And if they are just roasted in the oven, there is a high likelihood that the nuts will roast unevenly or burn (not to mention the mess that it will create). I found that the best way to do this is by using both methods. It’s quite easy. No need to add oil. And you waste the least amount of sesame seeds – if at all – by using this method.
If you are in a time crunch, you can make this on the stove top. But you will need to time it well. Read my Cook’s Note immediately following the recipe.
I add a little bit of tamari for the hint of Asian flavor. It makes a significant difference in flavor. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Maple-Sesame Almonds Recipe
1 cup raw almonds
2 – 3 TB maple syrup
1/2 tsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 – 3 TB sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking pan by placing a baking rack on the pan. Cover the baking rack with parchment paper.
- To prepare the sauce, stir together maple syrup, tamari, and balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Heat a pan over medium heat. Add almonds and stir for a couple of minutes. LOWER the heat. Add the sauce and a pinch of salt. Stir until the sauce is absorbed by the almonds but still sticky.
- In a heat resistant bowl or on parchment (or wax) paper, mix together the sesame seeds and the still-sticky almonds using a lightly-oiled spatula.*
- Spread the almonds on the prepared baking pan. Roast for about 5-7 minutes until the maple syrup crystallizes on the almonds. Remove from heat and cool completely.
You should use a baking rack when making this in the oven. If you just roast it directly on a baking pan, the almonds will bake unevenly and the bottom side of the almonds will burn within minutes.
Add 1/2 of the sesame seeds to the bowl or parchment paper first, then add the sticky almonds. To the almonds, add the other 1/2 of the sesame seeds. Then mix. This will lead to more sesame seeds sticking to the almonds. If you are using parchment or wax paper, you can use the paper itself to press the seeds into the almonds.
Don’t discard the sesame seeds left in the bowl or parchment paper. Save them in a ziploc and use them on salads or other dishes.
If you are in a time crunch, you can make this on the stove top without using the oven. You need to stir the almonds with the maple syrup mixture as in step 2 above. You will need to stir until the sugars in the maple syrup start to crystallize BUT still slightly sticky. Remove from heat. Mix together the almonds and the sesame seeds using a lightly-oiled spatula in a heat-resistant bowl or on parchment paper. Lay them out flat and cool completely. Keep in mind, not as much sesame seeds will stick to the almonds because these almonds will not be as sticky as the almonds above.
If you are not using sesame seeds, you don’t need to use the oven. Just stir the nuts in the pan until the maple syrup crystallizes. You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever spice you’d like.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.