Monday, December 12, 2022

Cinnamon Toffee Almonds

Cinnamon Toffee Almonds

These tasty nuts are just a variation on the butter toffee pecans two posts ago. I decided to make them after finally giving up on finding the Salted Caramel Churro Almonds that had been available at Sam's Club earlier this year. They have been out of stock for months now. 
This recipe here is not exactly as I remember the Sam's Club almonds, but they're delicious nonetheless.
Next time I will probably use fewer almonds than I did this time (I used more than noted in the recipe below) because I just don't think mine had enough of the toffee coating. I will also use more cinnamon, as I went conservative with the ones pictured, using only 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. 

Cinnamon Toffee Almonds

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Morton brand)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (amount depends on your preferred level of cinnamon)
  • In a small bowl, combine the salt and cinnamon, and set aside. Then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and also set aside.
  • In a large non-stick pan/skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add sugar and water and stir with a silicone spatula to combine.
  • When the liquid starts to simmer and all of the sugar is melted, add the nuts.
  • Stir continually until all water is evaporated and the sugar starts to looks crusty.
  • Sprinkle the salt & cinnamon mixture evenly over the nuts and then stir.
  • Continue to stir until sugar starts to look a bit shiny on the outside of the nuts--it will not get completely shiny (see pics below for reference).
  • Pour nuts onto the prepared cookie sheet and separate the nuts as much as possible with the silicone spatula or other heat-proof utensil.
  • Allow nuts to cool completely before enjoying. Nuts will get crunchier as they cool.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Sugar is melted and ready for nuts.

Add salt & cinnamon when nuts look like this.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Heidi's Pecan Pie

Heidi's Pecan Pie

Last Thanksgiving was the first time I ever actually tasted pecan pie. Call me an apple-pie-person. At any rate, my dear sister-in-law Heidi always makes the pecan pie for Thanksgiving dinner. She really just follows the recipe on the back of the Karo Syrup bottle, with one small tweak: she adds a teaspoon of butter flavor/extract, and it really makes all the difference in the world.

The fact that Heidi's pecan pie is superior to other pecan pies was proven to me yesterday when I tried some Perkins Restaurant pecan pie that was left over from our holiday meeting at work. The pecan pie tasted fine, but not delicious, and not really worth the calories, in my opinion. (Sorry, Perkins.) The big difference, I think, was the butter flavor. Mmmm.

So, if you are already a pecan pie fan, or are open to the idea, give this recipe a whirl. Hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I have. 

(Note: The pie picture here is a half-recipe pie baked in a 6-inch glass pie pan.)

Heidi's Pecan Pie
   -- Adapted from Karo Syryp's Homemade Pecan Pie recipe

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 eggs, beaten lightly, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavor/extract
  • 1 3/4 cup pecans (about 8 oz)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (see recipe below)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
  • Place the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and butter flavor/extract into a bowl and stir with a spoon.
  • Stir in the pecans.
  • Place the unbaked pie crust onto the prepared baking sheet, and then pour the liquid & pecan mixture into the pie crust.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pie reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate so the pie can set up. After that you can serve cold or at room temperature.
  • Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 9-inch pie

(Note: the pie pictured here is a half-size pie.)

Liquid ingredients mixed and ready for pecans

You'll end up with quite a bit of pie crust scraps.

Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
  • Place flour and salt in a medium size bowl and stir to distribute the salt evenly.
  • Cut in the 4 tablespoons of butter until butter is in 1/4-inch chunks.
  • Cut in the vegetable shortening until the shortening is in 1/4-inch chunks, and the butter is cut pretty finely.
  • Add the cold water to the mixture by sprinkling in one tablespoon at a time while you toss with a fork. 
  • After you've added 3 tablespoons of water, try squeezing the dough together. If it does not stick well, add up to 1 more tablespoon of water and mixt just until combined. You will have a lot of dry parts, but that's okay.
  • Start pressing and squeezing the dough to form a cohesive ball. Try not to overwork the dough or else you'll end up with a tough crust.
  • Once the dough is cohesive, place a 1 foot piece of plastic wrap on the counter and then try to form the dough into a disk on top of the plastic. Smoosh the disk to about 6-7 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the pie filling.
  • Roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. 
  • If dough is nowhere near a perfect circle shape, cut off a piece that sticks out, dab with a little water, and place on a spot that needs more dough. Continue to roll out until you have a circle of crust that will fill the pie plate.
  • If you're not sure what to do at this point, you're probably best off going over to Youtube to see how other people form and shape their pie crust. My words won't do the process justice.
  • Makes one 9-inch pie crust 
Mixture before adding water

After stirring in water

The cohesive mass

Wrapped and ready for refrigeration

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