Friday, March 29, 2013

Cut back on sugar week--Almond Crunch Candy

Honey is such a tricky sweetener.  It is a liquid and a humectant, meaning it helps to attract and maintain moisture, so it gives a different, not always so desirable quality, to baked goods.  It browns faster and darker and cookies made with honey are soft instead of crispy.  But in candy it's a different tale.  I should have called it "honey week" because as I look over the posts, honey's been the only sweetener I've used.

I found this recipe for Almond Crunch Candy several years ago in my 1978 Rodale's Naturally Delicious Desserts and Snacks cookbook.  It's one of my favorites from the book.

Melt 1/3 c. butter and 1/4 c. honey in a skillet.

Chop 3/4 c. almonds and add to the mixture in the pan. 
Cook over medium heat and keep stirring for about 7-9 minutes, or until mixture turns golden brown.  The picture above was taken early in the process--it's fairly pale colored.  When it begins to brown, pour it quickly into an 8x8 pan and cut right away into 36 itty-bitty pieces (cut 6 by 6).  They may seem small, but you'll find that it's a good size.  If you cooked it to just the right temperature, it'll cool to a crunchy, toffee-like texture, if it was slightly underdone, they'll be more of a caramel texture.  It will be hard to be disappointed, either way.

Lunch is served!

or the snack size serving...

Almond Crunch Candy

1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c. slivered almonds

Butter an 8x8 square pan. 

Melt butter in heavy frying pan; stir in honey.  Add almonds.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture turns golden brown (about 7 minutes--judge by the color more than the time).

Spread mixture in prepared pan, working quickly, while still very hot.  With buttered, sharp knife, cut into squares immediately.  Cool. 

Chill in refrigerator and store in covered container. 

Yields 36 pieces. 

So there you go. Five ways to eat sweets without touching that bag of white sugar.  I'll have to do another series of these sometime!