Every year at Christmas there is a tradition here in San Francisco called the Dickens Christmas Fair. A huge event center is literally transformed into a Victorian Era world! You get to walk around surrounded by actors dressed in top hats and petticoats while shopping for vintage books, gorgeous candles, and glassware. Everywhere you look there is something going on: Father Christmas rides through in a parade on a pull cart, the ghost of Christmas future struggles by covered in chains, Tiny Tim dashes around, and raucous scenes erupt continuously. It is so much fun and a great way to start the Christmas season!
One of my favorite parts of the fair is picking up some cinnamon roasted almonds. The smell of the nuts greets you the second you walk in the door. They are delicious! Nut vendors make them right there in front of you with big pots continuously mixing up delicious snacks. I’ve shared the recipe with you so that you can enjoy them this holiday season. They make wonderful gifts to share or holiday party appetizers.
Dickens Fair nuts to the left, mine to the right…pretty close!
Cinnamon Roasted Nuts
1/3 cup butter
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar
3 cups whole natural almonds
4 teaspoons cinnamonDirections Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place butter in a 13″ X 9″ pan; place in oven to melt butter. Beat egg whites with salt, gradually add sugar. Continue beating until the mixture has stiff peaks. Use a spatula to gently fold in almonds and cinnamon. Pour almond mixture into buttered pan. Bake about 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until almonds are crisp.
Continuously stirring the nuts is key to keeping them from clumping up. If you are in the midst of holiday cooking and don’t have time to hover over the oven, you will simply need to add a step! There will be a gorgeous meringue encasing the nuts. Break this open and crumble the nuts out. I like doing this because it gives you a great almond flavored crumble to put on top of ice cream with a drizzle Amaretto. So yummy!