It’s almost Christmas and once again I haven’t even started buying gifts, nor have I baked any cookies! That reminds me of the Italian saying: “The wolf loses its fur but not its bad habits”. That says it all, right? :)
Despite all the million things that I need to do before we head off to visit my family, I managed to find time at least for this torrone. I must say this is the first time that I made it by myself. Usually it’s my parents and I preparing it. But I’m pretty sure they don’t mind receiving it ready to be eaten this year ;)
There are different names for this almond brittle in Italy. Some might call it croccante. As torrone usually has a soft white texture. But in Sicily, or at least in our area, when we talk about torrone, this is exactly what we mean: Lots of almonds! That’s how I like it. The crunchier the better!
This is a very special Christmas recipe that even my grandma used to make. It is one of those that don’t require much. Neither a lot of ingredients, nor a great effort. It consists of two ingredients. Almonds and sugar. That’s it. And as much as I love pistachios, this year I had to try this version, too! Oh, let me tell you, it came out really good! Even if I had to cheat a little.. I have no idea where to get fresh Sicilian pistachios from Bronte in Germany. So I had to replace them with California ones, which were already toasted (without salt). Fresh pistachios are being sold here in tiny little packages. Which means that making this recipe using those, would cost a fortune. So I had to make it work with the ingredients that I have available. And it worked well!
Now Christmas can come!
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!
- 500 g / 17½ oz almonds
- 500 g / 17½ oz sugar
- pistachios (optional)
- Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a wood surface,marble or a heat resistant countertop.
- Dissolve the sugar in a large saucepan or deep pan at medium heat. Stir occasionally.
- As soon as it starts to melt, keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to burn or become too dark.
- In the meantime toast the almonds for a few minutes, in the oven or in a pan at medium to high heat.
- Stir the almonds carefully into the melted sugar. Stir well with a wood spoon.
- Pour the almond-sugar mix on the parchment paper.
- Flatten quickly (!) with the wood spoon, as it gets harder the colder it gets. (Consider a thickness of one or a max. of two layers of almonds on top of each other.)
- Let it cool off well. Then either cut or break into pieces.
- The only exception are: If you can find fresh pistachios, I would recommend not toasting them, otherwise go for toasted (possibly not salted) ones.
- Here you don't necessarily need a 1:1 ratio. Calculate about ¼ less sugar than the amount of pistachios.
- Continue as above.
- Although it is usually cut with a knife, I find that breaking it with your hands tends to be so much easier and faster!
- Feel free to mix both kind of nuts together!