As the candymaking cavalcade continues, I decided to make the Cocoa and Sugar Dusted Chocolate Almonds from page 109 of the Handmade Holidays special issue. This sounded very simple (always the curse of death).
The first step is to cook the almonds with sugar, water and cinnamon in a pot on the stove. Then pour it onto baking sheets and stick it in the freezer. So far, so good. Getting it off the baking sheet was another story. I had it on waxed paper, which kept ripping as I tried to get the nuts off.
The next step is to melt semi-sweet chocolate and stir the nuts into it. Martha says to then put the almonds on a wire rack. Now, picture how small an almond is. Then picture the racks you own. Would an almond not fall through that? Definitely. Mr. MarthaAndMe came up with a solution – he
wrapped fishing line around and around a wire rack. He is oh-so-clever.
Once we had this in place, I mixed the almonds with the chocolate. Not so great. The chocolate sort of solidified and got all chunky. When I put the almonds on the rack, they looked like nasty pieces of something unpleasant
I will not name here. Not to mention, I did not need the stupid wire rack thing – setting them on waxed paper worked just as well since they were not drippy.
Because the chocolate was not nicely coating the almonds, I first stuck it in the microwave to try to soften it a bit, but that did not seem to help (and I was worried about the sugar coating dissolving). Then I put it over a pot of boiling water. This helped a little. I ended up rolling each almond by hand to smooth out the layer of chocolate on it. This was a major pain and I admit it made me complete cranky.
Next you cool the almonds and then roll half of them in cocoa powder and half in powdered sugar. This was easy.
The taste test? Well, I think the almonds needed to cook longer in the sugar mixture because they were not as crunchy as I would have liked. I’m not sure using raw almonds was the way to go here, Martha. I think regular almonds might have worked out better. I was thoroughly disgusted by this entire project by the end. What should have been simple took forever and did not turn out as I envisioned.