I’ve been talking about them for a long time. Here, at last, is my recipe for pink candied nuts, a specialty from the Lyon region, just as they are made there. These delectable candies are pretty expensive, so it’s much cheaper to make them at home. They keep well if stored in an airtight container. The trick to making veritable pralines roses is to add the sugar in three stages, unless of course you have the special equipment. It’s not complicated, in fact, nor as time-consuming as it may seem at first glance. I enjoy it and even find the process restful: while I’m stirring I can daydream … and think up more recipes for you. After mixing, pop the almonds into the oven to dry them out completely. Then you can use them for a variety of fun recipes.
- 2 1/3 cups / 1 lb. / 450 g sugar, divided (If you’re using cups, use ¾ cup each time)
- A few drops of red food coloring (you can also use powdered coloring)
- 3/4 cup / ¼ lb. / 125g whole hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup / ¼ lb. / 125g whole almonds
Place one-third of the sugar (3/4 cup / 150 g) in a large frying pan with just enough water to moisten it. Add a few drops of red coloring. If you’re using the powdered form, take a small pinch – just enough to hold on the tip of a sharp knife.
Stir well and turn the heat to high. Bring to a boil.
When large bubbles start forming, add the hazelnuts and almonds.
Stir constantly. You may need to lower the heat a little if the mixture seems to be starting to burn.
The syrup will begin to crystallize, becoming grainy.
Keep stirring so that the nuts are well coated in sugar.
At some stage, the ingredients seem to separate. The sugar doesn’t seem to adhere to the nuts, and it looks like powdered pink sugar. Allow it to melt partially so that it coats the nuts again.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
Set the nuts aside. Place the remaining sugar in a saucepan and add another third of the sugar.
Add a little more red coloring and water–just enough to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Continue until all the pieces of sugar are completely melted. Switch off the burner if you have gas, or remove from the heat.
Return the nuts to the frying pan, but don’t switch on the heat yet. Wait till the syrup in the saucepan reaches 255°F (124°C).
When the syrup is almost at the desired temperature, switch on the burner below the frying pan. It should be at medium heat.
Pour the syrup over the nuts, stirring as you pour.
Coat the nuts well. The syrup will once again become grainy, as it did earlier.
Allow the sugar that does not coat the nuts to melt.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a sheet of wax or parchment paper and sort through, setting the coated nuts to one side and the remaining sugar to the other.
Place the remaining pink sugar in the saucepan and add the last third of the sugar with more food coloring and enough water to moisten it. Allow to melt and bring to 255°F / 124°C. Return the nuts to the frying pan and pour in the syrup when it reaches the right temperature, stirring constantly.
At this, the third stage, the syrup coats the pink nuts well.
Stir well and allow the syrup to become grainy.
Allow whatever sugar seems reluctant to be used as coating to melt again.
Pour all the contents of the frying pan onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. By now, there should be almost no sugar left unstuck to the nuts.
Final procedure: Heat the oven to 160°F / 70°C and bake the candied nuts for 45 minutes to dry them out completely. After that, you can store them for a good length of time in an airtight container. Either enjoy them as candies, or incorporate them into other recipes for a touch of whimsy.