An authentic Italian Christmas recipe from our kitchen to yours.
– 2 cups sugar
– 1/4 cup water
– 3 cups blanched, toasted, whole almonds or raw almonds
– 1 lemon
1. Remove any produce stickers from the lemon and rinse it well with a bit of baking soda to remove any wax. Dry the lemon and set aside.
2. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a heat proof surface like a granite countertop or an aluminum or stainless steel cookie sheet.
3. If you are blanching and toasting the almonds, prepare them first. See the notes at the end of this recipe for instructions.
4. In a pan over medium heat, add the water and the sugar. Continuously stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the sugar and water have heated and dissolved into a clear liquid. Continue stirring as the melted sugar begins to boil and caramelize in color – about 10 minutes. The sugar is ready when the temperature reaches “hard ball” stage or 255 degrees on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, a small ball of the cooked sugar should turn very hard when dropped into a glass of water.
5. When the sugar is ready, remove it from the heat and pour in the almonds. Mix well and then immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment paper. Be very careful as the sugar is very hot and will cause severe burns.
6. At this point, take the lemon and use it to smash down the brittle into a single sheet of candy with the almonds evenly spread in one layer through the sugar. You will need to work quickly because the mixture will harden fast. Continue rotating the lemon as you mash down the brittle so that the lemon oil from the peel adds a light flavor to the brittle.
7. Once the brittle is spread out into a single sheet, let it set for about 10 minutes to harden, and then cut it into small cookie – size pieces for serving.
8. Store the brittle in an air tight glass jar in a cool, dry place.
To blanch the almonds, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add the nuts to the water and cook for 1 minute. Drain the almonds and then remove their papery skins and discard. They should easily pop out of their skins. To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the blanched almonds on a baking sheet and place them on the center rack of the oven. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring them once until they begin to turn lightly golden and are fragrant.
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