Make Ahead

Croccante di Mandorle (Almond Brittle)

October 26, 2011
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)
In This Recipe
  1. Line a quarter sheet pan, or small rectangular pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut into strips or squares. Optionally, let cool completely and break apart into rough shapes.

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