Katherine told this story about her nut fiasco. "We had decided to make these cinnamon toasted almonds for neighbor Christmas gifts. A chef i am not, so the label of EASY in bold type was especially enticing. As we gathered the ingredients my husband joked, you should submit a pinstrosity if they don't turn out. I scoffed. I dutifully mixed ingredients per the recipe, coated the almonds and popped those suckers into the oven. I even had all 4 cups of almonds on one baking sheet at one point, re-read the instructions and reluctantly decided to split the batch onto two sheets as the recipe suggested. 5 minutes in, almonds smell great baking in the oven. 8 minutes in, the sweet aroma turns slightly sour, and 10 minutes into baking the almonds are burnt and smoke is coming out through the stove burners. The almonds looked horrible with a mix of crusty black burntness and bubbly brown foam covering them. Sure these weren't presentable for neighbors but we might be able to snack on the lesser burnt pieces. My husband took a bite, and nothing! Those stupid almonds tasted like almonds! I'm calling this a level 4 fail based on how quickly they burned, how after 3 minutes out of the oven the almonds had GLUED to the pan, and how after all our hard work they just tasted like plain ol' almonds... oh. And the fact that my husband called it!"
- Before you do anything else, prepare a flat surface to pour the nuts onto. For one batch I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, and another batch I just put the wax paper on the counter. Both worked fine.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage, stirring to keep from scorching.
- Quickly pour in the vanilla and then the pecans. Stir quickly to coat the nuts.
- Spread the nuts onto a hard surface (as prepared in step #1) and quickly separate with a fork before they harden (and stick together).
- Let cool and then enjoy!
And then here's one of my own. Not a fail, but I do have some tips...
My sister held a cookie exchange and I decided to try out the hot cocoa cookies I had eagerly pinned on Pinterest. The first batch seemed a little over done when I cooked them according to the recipe's directions, so I lowered the baking time by 2-3 minutes and they came out much better. These cookies were so perfectly chocolatey (which is saying something for me who is not a huge chocolate fan) and soft and gooey when they came out of the oven. I put them in a container and Em and I drove the 2 hours to my sisters house for her party, so of course the cookies cooled down during the drive. They were still good once they had cooled, but they just weren't as good or impressive. They ended up a little more crunch and the chunk of chocolate in the center had hardened back to just a chunk of chocolate and not melted awesomeness. So if you make these to take to a party, take them hot. Their not bad cool, but they just aren't anything to scream about either.
So I hope this gives you some ideas and help! All it did for me was to make me hungry...good thing I've got left over posole from Christmas (New Mexico Chrstimas food is the best!).