Almonds

Almonds dipped in caramelized sugar and chocolate. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times / November 17, 2011)



Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: Makes about 1 cup

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup whole toasted almonds

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (minimum 66% cacao), roughly chopped

1/2 cup cocoa powder, more as needed

1. Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper.

2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat the mixture over high heat until the sugar melts and the mixture turns a rich caramel color, 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the sides of the pan using a pastry brush dipped in water to keep the sugar from crystallizing.

3. Remove the caramelized sugar and dip the pan very briefly in a large bowl of cool water to cool and thicken the sugar slightly. With the pan held at an angle (be careful that the sugar does not spill, as it is hot and can easily burn you), dip the almonds, several at a time, into the sugar using a fork to coat them. Remove the almonds using a fork or two (grease the forks with nonstick cooking spray to keep the sugar from sticking), gently shaking off the excess caramel, and place them on the prepared baking sheet to dry. If you find that the sugar hardens too much for dipping, gently reheat it on the stove until thinned.

4. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often to prevent the chocolate from burning.

5. Dip the almonds, using a fork or two, into the chocolate to coat. Shake off the excess chocolate and place the almonds on the baking sheet, making sure they do not touch. Place the sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes to harden the chocolate.

6. Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl and add the almonds, a few at a time, to toss and coat them with cocoa. Repeat with all of the almonds. Store the almonds in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Each of 16 servings: 182 calories; 3 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 10 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 18 grams sugar; 1 mg sodium.