a-caramelized-almond

Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Fall/Winter 2009 issue.

There isn’t a market in Mexico that doesn’t sell candy typical of the region or even other regions of the country. The variety of Mexican candies, which had its formal beginnings with the arrival of sugarcane to Aztec lands following the Conquest, is one of the most rich and diverse in the world. There are burnt milk candies, called Glorias, which originated in the state of Nuevo Leon, and peanut bars from Oaxaca, among numerous other sweet treats. These typical regional candies are in such demand that they are packaged for sale both inside and outside the region where they are produced.

In downtown Puerto Vallarta at the candy store Con Orgullo Azteca, which has been managed by owner Gerardo Leal Muñoz since 2007, they make several of the traditional sweets themselves. Leal Muñoz recalls that he learned how to make them from his father, who wouldn’t give him money unless he learned how to prepare typical Mexican candies on a regular basis. The entrepreneur says that the most popular are caramelized nuts and mueganos, fried flour puffs. “Foreigners love our candy because they are looking for something natural, and our sweets are made with natural fruit, no preservatives,” he notes. Dulcería Con Orgullo Azteca, Juárez 449, El Centro

Making Caramelized Almonds Juan Manuel Licon’s Way

Ingredients:

  1. Put a clean copper pot (copper won’t add a metallic taste to food) over heat.
  2. Add water and vanilla.
  3. Add sugar and heat the mixture until it boils and thickens.
  4. Add the almonds, and wait until the mixture reduces and the sugar starts sticking to the nuts.
  5. Stir toward the end to prevent the nuts from sticking.
  6. Let stand for two minutes.
  7. Return to heat, and add butter to complete the caramelization process.
  8. And presto!