… I’m Nuts About These “Croutons”
I love having croutons in my salad, but sometimes I don’t have the time (or I forget to plan ahead) to make the bread-based croutons. This recipe, inspired by Colorado Cache Cookbook, offers a great alternative. Sugared Almond “croutons” are easy to make, requiring just two ingredients and a few minutes to cook. Because they are made from almonds, they add a sweet-savory crunch to salad and never get soggy from the dressing. Almonds contribute additional nutritional benefits in the way of high protein, zero cholesterol, extra calcium, and vitamin E. I like to make a large enough batch to have plenty left over. I store the “croutons” in a sealed jar on the counter. Now they are ready for my next salad.
If you’re really thinking outside the salad bowl, try adding these “croutons” to your morning hot or cold cereal, yogurt snack, or as a quick addition to trail mix made from “croutons”, dried cherries, twisted pretzels, and semi-sweet chocolate chip chunks. Crunchiness and “yum” in every bite. Where will you add these “croutons”?
Prep time: less than 5 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
Rest time: 5 minutes
8 ounces sliced almonds, lightly salted
1/2 cup granulated sugar, depending on how much sugar coating you prefer
Place a large piece of wax paper over a heat-resistant surface, such as a large cookie sheet or a cutting board. This will be where the hot sugared almond slices will be placed to cool.
In a large, flat-bottomed skillet pour in the granulated sugar and spread to cover bottom of pan evenly. Spread the almond slices evenly over the sugar. Over very low heat, allow the sugar to begin to melt. Stir to distribute the sugar through the almond slices. Continue to stir regularly so the melting sugar coats the almond slices, being careful not to let the sugar or the almonds become overheated causing them to burn. When all of the sugar is thoroughly incorporated and sticks to the almond slices, and none remains in the bottom of the pan, the almonds are finished cooking. Most of the sugar will be melted and a little sugar may still be slightly granular. You want to be sure there are no large clumps of hardened cooked sugar however. These will be very difficult to eat once cooled.
Pour the sugared almond slices out of the pan onto your prepared cooling area. Separate and scatter the almonds so there are no large groups of almond slices stuck together. Allow to cool completely. Store sugared almond “croutons” in a jar with a resealable lid.