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Easy Candied Almonds for a Last-minute Eye-healthy Gift Idea

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If you’re anything like me, you probably still haven’t bought all your Christmas gifts yet and the thought of going shopping at this point doesn’t sound all that fun. So here’s a homemade treat that you can whip up in no time! You likely already even have everything you need in your pantry. Not only are these candied almonds a great last-minute present, but they’re seriously delicious and made a tad healthier!

A lot of candied nut recipes call for corn syrup and a huge amount of sugar. All the sweetener you need for this recipe is 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar or granulated sugar. The maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon add a lot of flavor and I can pretty much guarantee you – you won’t miss all the extra sugar found in other recipes!

These candied almonds are also an eye-healthy treat. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which studies suggest may help maintain good eyesight. A diet rich in vitamin E can even help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in almonds are also essential for eye health. They may help improve eyesight and glaucoma, which can result in vision loss.

Don’t like almonds? Feel free to use a different type of nut! These healthier maple candied walnuts are another great gift option. The only ingredients you need for those are walnuts and maple syrup.

These candied almonds hold up very well so you can make them several days in advance. The only problem with them is that they’re so addictive. If you’re making these as gifts, you’ll probably want to double or triple the recipe!

candied-almonds-verticalRECIPE

1 1/2 cups almonds or another type of nut
3 tablespoons coconut sugar or granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Set this aside.

On another baking sheet, spread the almonds and bake for 7-12 minutes, stirring halfway, or until they smell toasty. You should smell a nutty aroma coming from the oven when the almonds are ready. Remove the almonds from the oven and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Set the bowl aside. Combine the maple syrup, water, oil, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and add the almonds.

Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the nuts to the bowl with the sugar and toss to make sure that they’re well-coated.

Pour the almonds evenly onto the parchment-lined pan and cool completely. The nuts will be soft while still warm but once completely cooled, the almonds and the coating become crunchy.

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