Tag Archives: maple sugar

Almond Praline

31 Dec

This is a recipe I originally learned from Diane Carlson, from the Conscious Gourmet.

This is a super easy recipe that will never disappoint you.  I have also used it to candy hazelnuts, cashews and walnuts.  You can easily eat these almonds by themselves or as a garnish for poached or roasted fruit – like my Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese or these Poached Pears in Orange Juice.



1 cup sliced almonds
1 tbs maple sugar
1 tbs maple syrup
  1. Combine all ingredients and stir well with two forks.  Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silplat.
  2. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350F oven.  Stir occasionally, and remove from oven once they’ve become golden brown. 
  3. When you remove from oven, transfer them immediately to a cool bowl or plate for them to cool down.  They’ll become crisp as they cool down.  Separate them carefully.

Poached Pears in Orange Juice

30 Dec

Pears have never been one of my favorite fruits…  I have always favored berries to any other fruits.  But how I love cooked pears!

Don’t get me wrong… I like pears, particularly, sliced up next to a nice piece of gruyère or comté cheese.  But I have grown to love also a nice roasted or poached pear.  And in my interest to find new ways and flavors to pair pears with I developed this nice recipe…



2 pears – I usually buy Bartlett as they’re widely available here
2/3 cup of orange juice – can be freshly squeezed or from the Tropicana container
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs maple sugar
A pinch of salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.  I make this in a toaster oven…
  2. First, peel, halve and core your pears.  I use a melon-baller or a round 1tbs measuring spoon.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients in an oven safe dish where you can fit comfortably all 4 halves of pears.   Place the pears in the dish and move the around so the liquid coats somewhat the whole pear, even though the pear halves will not be submerged in the liquid.
  4. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes until pears are soft when pierced with a fork.  Make sure the poaching liquid does not burn or caramelize before the pears are cooked.

The thickened poaching liquid will serve as syrup on top of the pears when serving.  Serve with a nice nutty, salty cheese (like gorgonzola dolce or comté) on the side and some almond or walnut praline.

Tarragon Almonds

4 Jun

This is another recipe I made for my college get-together using ingredients from my CSA box, tarragon.

Tarragon is a new herb for me.  It’s not something you use in Latin cooking at all.  But it’s “licorice-y” taste gave me the idea to pair it up with something sweet and salty at the same time.  I already showed you my Rosemary Almonds, so I decided to give it a go with tarragon to see how people would receive them.

The test was a success… people were asking me what was in them.  Hold on… not just anyone was asking – my friend Mariví, the most finicky eater of all my friends, and Alejandro, the husband of my friend Angie, who always comes to my dinner parties after eating something before.   They were all over the bowl of almonds… 

I guess they don’t serve these at the Argentinean restaurant next door to my house…


 Tarragon Almonds


1 cup of raw almonds
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs maple sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of the peppermill
1 tbs fresh tarragon, chopped finely


  1. I prefer to skin the almonds… so you need to do this in advance using the method I show you here.
  2. After the almonds are skinned and dry, toast them in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them… they will take a bit longer than skinned almonds because we’ve soaked them in water, but they could burn if left completely unattended.  The idea is to toast them a bit before you add the sugars because if not, the sugars will burn before the almonds get toasted…
  3. Take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit. 
  4. In a medium bowl mix together the maple sugar, syrup, salt, pepper and tarragon.  Add the almonds and toss to combine.
  5. Return them to the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the sugar and syrup dissolves and forms a caramel on top of the almonds.
  6. Take the out of the oven and immediately but very carefully place them in a shallow dish to cool.  BE CAREFUL THE SUGAR BURNS!!!

After they’ve cooled, you can separate them with your hands.  If you live in a hot humid climate like Puerto Rico, you might need to place them in the fridge so they do not get sticky…

Hazelnut Praline

7 Mar

I have been meaning to share with you some desserts, but I wanted to make them with Almonds.  Every-time I go to the market, I forget to buy them.  If I don’t write it, I will never remember it.

Then the other day I was reorganizing my fridge (in preparation to my upcoming trip to Costco) and I found along lost bag of shelled hazelnuts.  My dear mom helped me shell these hazelnuts I bought before Xmas and I never got to eat and they were sitting, very unassumingly, in this ziplock bag in the back of my fridge… how about Hazelnut Praline!!!  I am sure it will taste fantastic too.  It did…



1/2 cup shelled hazelnuts
1 tbs maple sugar
1 1/2 tbs maple syrup
  1.  I like to start with peeled hazelnuts.  I think the taste of the nut comes across better when the little skin is taken off.  So to do this with hazelnuts, I roasted them for a little while in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes.  They’ll start to smell a bit.
  2. Then place them in a clean kitchen towel and scrub them all together.  Most of the skins will come off.  Some I had to peel a bit of my hands.  Wait a bit until the nuts cool down some.  You don’t need to get your fingers burned.
  3.  p1030076.jpg
  4. Cut the hazelnuts in a smaller pieces.  I used a serrated knife and it worked very well.  The nuts did not fly all across the cutting board.
  5. Mix the nuts in a medium bowl with the maple syrup and maple sugar.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes.  I try not to leave the kitchen because nuts tend to burn fast and remember, you may have already roasted them a bit already to skin them.
  6. When they’re done, they’ll smell really sweet and nutty delicious.
  7. Be careful taking them out of the oven, but transfer then to a metal dish right away to help them cool off.  I sometimes put the nuts in the fridge to help keep them away from the humidity we always have here in PR.


Snap the nuts loose and eat them alone as a snack or sprinkle them over your favorite dessert.  I particularly enjoyed them today with my Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese.

Poached Pears with Almond Pralines

3 Feb

This is an awesome dessert…  I love fruity desserts much more than cakes or other baked goods.  And even though pears are not something you can grow here in Puerto Rico, most every supermarket has them on sale these days.  I saw some lovely Bartlett pears on sale the other day and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to re-create a recipe I had originally learned last year at the Conscious Gourmet Cooking seminar Poached Pears with Almond Pralines.

The original recipe called for Bosc pears, but they were so much smaller than the Bartletts that I decided to go for size and beauty.  The recipe turned out perfectly, IMHO.

And the Almond Pralines – this is awesome!!!! They’re the perfect accompaniment to these pears or a great snack all by itself.  They would taste great on top of ice cream or yogurt drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce…  mmmmm!!!!  I feel another craving coming up.



3 cups unsweetened organic apple juice
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves or a few whole cloves
pinch of ginger
6-8 Bartlett or Bosc pears – peeled, halved and cored
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Combine all ingredients, except pears, in a roasting pan.  Set pears in the poaching liquid. 
  3. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. 
  4. Check the pears for doneness – they should be soft when pricked with a knife. 
  5. Remove the pears from poaching liquid and transfer them to a separate dish.
  6. Transfer the poaching liquid to a skillet or wide saucepan and boil until the liquid is reduced by half.
  7. Serve by placing one pear half on a dish, drizzle with the reduced poaching liquid and sprinkle with Almond Pralines.  recipe below…

I have a confession to make… the original recipe calls for you to cover the roasting pan and bake covered.  I did not notice that in the recipe and forgot.  The results were good too…  I just had to leave them a few more minutes in and increased the temperature to 425 degrees and left them an additional 15 minutes.  They should be done by then.


1 cup sliced almonds – but slivered or chopped almonds would work too
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs maple sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  3. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 15 minutes until golden brown – you can take advantage of the same oven you’re making the pears in.
  4. Transfer IMMEDIATELY into a metal bowl to cool off and crisp up.
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