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Author Notes: At every family Christmas gathering I can remember as a child, croccante di mandorle was always on the dessert table. Recently, I asked my mom how to make it, and she said "it's just sugar, water and almonds!" Sounded simple enough, so I did a little investigating and found a great video recipe on GialloZafferano's youtube channel, which I adapted. I've adjusted the amounts of sugar and nuts, and left the skins on the almonds because I think it's much more colorful and pleasing to the eye. The anise seeds gives the candy a subtle licorice flavor, which I love with almonds and citrus. Serve with an espresso. Sambuca optional. —mrslarkin
Makes about 1 1/4 pounds
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups whole almonds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds
- one half of a fresh large lemon (optional, but fun)
- Line a quarter sheet pan, or small rectangular pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place almonds on another parchment-lined sheet pan and lightly toast in a 350 degree oven until fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool. Chop about half of the almonds. I use my hinged lemon juicer to crush some of my nuts and it works quite well. Set almonds aside.
- Over medium/low heat, melt sugar, lemon juice and water in a large saute pan, using a wooden spoon to stir occasionally. When sugar has dissolved and is golden-blonde in color, turn off the heat and stir in the almonds and anise seeds. Mix well.
- Carefully pour the lava-hot nut mixture into the prepared pan. Using an oiled rubber spatula or lemon half, carefully spread the nut mixture out. The lemon half will impart a lovely lemony flavor to the brittle. The spatula, not so much.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then cut into strips or squares. Optionally, let cool completely and break apart into rough shapes.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Edible Gift
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Family Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Holiday Confection
How to Eat Cookies for Breakfast
Well, cookie butter that is
Eat cookies for breakfast.
Did you say vacation or cocktail?
It's time to travel.
The sauce savior.
Put cake on a pedestal.