American

Mint-Chocolate Torrone

November 27, 2020
4.7 Stars
Photo by JAMES RANSOM. FOOD STYLIST: ANNA BILLINGSKOG. PROP STYLIST: AMANDA WIDIS.
Author Notes

Torrone, a traditional Christmas treat served around the world (particularly in Spain and Italy), is a close cousin of nougat. Nougat can be fussy and sticky, but delicious. My punched-up torrone, however, is the easiest candy you’ll ever make; in fact, it has quite a lot in common with a traditional buttery American fudge. There’s no tricky temperature to hit, and no fussy hard-or soft-ball stages.

White sugar is melted out in a bit of water, until it becomes a viscous, simmering syrup, while softened butter and cocoa powder are beaten together until fluffy and thick. In goes a whole egg and a yolk, which gives the torrone its signature bounce and chew, and then the hot sugar syrup is carefully tipped into your mixer bowl. (The boiling syrup cooks the raw egg as they are paddled together.)

Like building a giant salad or adding accessories to a cute outfit, the fun really begins once you start throwing in the mix-ins: Buttery cookies are gently folded into the mixture, where they stay crisp and add richness. (For extra credit, consider making your own tender sablés, but store bought brands like St. Michel, Tate’s, or Walker’s work here, too). Fat chunks of mint-flavored chocolate get stirred in, too. (Here I’ll profess a love of Green & Blacks dark mint chocolate.)

If you’re not fond of pepperminty chocolates, a few drops of almond extract, some marzipan-studded chocolate, and/or some torn dried apricot is another spectacular variation. For a more classic Italian nougat profile, substitute candied almonds, pistachios, and some diced candied citrus peel. It all works—piles of sweet treats bound together by chewy, not-too-sweet fudge.

The torrone chills for a few hours, or overnight, where the flavors mingle and marry. I love spreading the torrone into a layer about one knuckle high, so that I can slice them into perfect die-like cubes. The cube shape is sharp and clean; the beautiful terrazzo texture it reveals once you slice into it is chic and irresistible. Is there a sturdier, more compact shape for nesting into a gift box and shipping to someone you love? Try it and see. —Natasha Pickowicz

Test Kitchen Notes

These torrone are part of Recipes to Give & Share, a collection of perfectly packable holiday treats that we're sending to our loved ones this year. —The Editors

  • Prep time 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes 1 quarter-sheet pan of torrone
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups mint chocolates, such as Andes Mints (you can also use mint-chocolate chunks, or a bar cut roughly)
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup to 2 cups butter cookies (plus more or less as you prefer), crumbled
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Beat butter and cocoa powder together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until smooth and creamy. Add egg and yolk in two additions, scraping to combine. Beat well until smooth, glossy, and thick.
  2. In a small pot, add just enough water to the white sugar to cover (about 1/4 cup should do it). Melt it out until it just comes up to a simmer, then remove the syrup from heat.
  3. With the mixer on, stream in hot sugar syrup very gradually to cocoa paste. (The heat of the sugar syrup will “cook” the raw egg).
  4. Season with salt and vanilla extract.
  5. Turn mixture out into a wide bowl and gently fold in cookie shards and chocolate chunks. Turn mixture out into a sheet tray lined with plastic wrap and lightly sprayed with cooking spray and smooth out to an even surface. Let chill completely until firm.
  6. Cut into desired shapes—cubes, slabs, or rounds with a cookie cutter.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • jakestavis
    jakestavis
  • Doris V.
    Doris V.
  • Smaug
    Smaug
  • Athena PN
    Athena PN
  • ozbaker
    ozbaker

24 Reviews

judy February 24, 2021
This looks interesting for a recipe to try just to learn how the ingredient combinations work. But for a chocolate treat, I would simply make my American fudge recipe and stir in the variety of mix-ins suggested. I do this with my fudge al the time: flavors, dried fruits and nuts of various kinds, I could try the cookies. I make my American fudge less sweet by using unsweetened chocolate in the condensed milk. So My fudge is bitter sweet, and it is great with candied orange peel or coconut or flavored with licorice or mint or lavender or ginger. All works. If I want spicy fudge, I add the spice and nay dried fruits and nuts I want to add in to the melted chocolate and stir in before I add the condensed milk. Blooms and flavors all the way through and the add ins go in much easier than into quickly hardening fudge. So this would be an interesting culinary exercise I thin and dried fruits I want to use,k, but I would stay with fudge--just seems easier.
 
jakestavis December 19, 2020
so looking forward to making these! how would you recommend storing them?
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 20, 2020
after they've set up in the fridge and after they've been portioned, i would store at room temperature, in a tightly sealed or wrapped container!
 
Holly N. December 14, 2020
Thanks Natasha -- it got smooth and glossy while being beaten but didn't keep that once I added the cookies and Andys. I beat it at least 5 minutes both rounds, had my egg and yolk room temp. But I'll try it again, as I would love for it to work. Now I need a creative use for most of a quarter pan tray of stuff that's not torrone, not fudge, not cookies. I wonder if I could put it atop something or heat and add flour or oats to make it into a crust for a fruitie bake?
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 14, 2020
haha such an interesting problem to have! i would dice/crumble it up and fold into cookie dough or plain vanilla ice cream! and yes adding a bit of flour and oats to make it stiff for a streusel-like topping for a fruit bake sounds delicious as well! love seeing a resourceful solution for a "failed" bake - there are no failed bakes : )
 
Holly N. December 14, 2020
I made it over the weekend, and somehow it was less than the sum of its parts. Don't know what I could have done differently, but it didn't really set, didn't have any of the bounce that the recipe mentioned. It tasted mostly like cocoa, almost too chocolately, if that is possible, and I had to really work to spread it out in the pan. I know the add ins were too big, but I was expecting some sort of transformation that didn't happen. Perhaps I didn't beat it long enough? THX for any advice as I'd love to have it work.
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 14, 2020
hey holly, im so sorry to hear that!!!! you're right - the mixture should be soft and bouncy. i paddle the butter and cocoa powder together for a good 4-5 minutes so the mixture is super aerated and fluffy. and perhaps your eggs were too small? another egg white would help with the bounce and lightness of the final candy, too! hope you have better luck next time <3
 
Doris V. December 10, 2020
HI! just saw this recipe and I obviously plan to do it soon! but I have a question, is it possible to reduce the sugar quantities for at least 50gr without ruinning the consistency? Thank you very much :)
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 10, 2020
yes, give it a try, i've played around with the sugar amounts and it'll still be delicious!
 
Smaug December 8, 2020
This looked like a good candidate for my once a year or so foray into confectionery. I made 1/3 of the recipe- dividing candy recipes can be problematic (you're apt to end up trying to get an accurate temperature reading on a 1/4" deep puddle of goo) but no real problems with this one. I made my own mint chocolate (3oz. 72% chocolate+ a scant 1/2 tsp. mint extract) and used some New Mexico chocolate cookies that I had around. No real problems; the butter is not eager to absorb the cocoa; it needs to be very soft and the mixing bowl needs to be reasonably warm or the butter will harden on the side. I would give the syrup a minute or two after it comes to a simmer. The batter is solid enough that you can just spread it to the desired thickness on a pan, plate or whatever- do use plastic or, better, wax paper. under it. I didn't count the minutes, but it certainly didn't take anything like 3 1/4 hrs.- I assume that includes a long cooling period for the candies to set. A bit messy, not unusual when working with chocolate. They are quite good (very sweet, of course) and, as the author pointed out, you could go all kinds of ways with flavorings and add ins.
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 8, 2020
wow, this is such a thorough recap, thank you so much for sharing!!! and yes, i like to sprinkle the bites with lots of flaky sea salt at the end to counteract the sweetness of the candy :))
 
Bridget H. December 7, 2020
What size sheet tray do you spread it in?
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 8, 2020
i used a quarter sheet tray lined with plastic wrap for easy removal — about 9x13"!
 
Bridget H. December 9, 2020
Thank You.
 
Mrs. C. December 6, 2020
This 'candy' looks yummy. Do you have a measurement, even and approximation, for the water? I want to make this but do not want to waste ingredients because I used too much water. Thanks
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 8, 2020
sure thing - a 1/4 c water will be more than enough to melt out the sugar without caramelizing it!
 
Mrs. C. December 9, 2020
Thank you. I look forward to trying this recipe!
 
Ann December 6, 2020
Can't wait to try this. But really people why so rude?
 
Bridget H. December 10, 2020
AMEN Ann, I am making these for Christmas. Even if people were making these for Santa Clause, people can still be nice. We are bakers, that means we spread JOY and happiness with our deserts. (unless you forget a major ingredient while making it) Let's do it here to.
 
li December 6, 2020
The author notes add the egg to the cocoa and butter while the recipe steps add the egg/s after the syrup. May not make a difference but would be nice to know.
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 6, 2020
hiya! first paddle butter and cocoa. then add egg + yolk. then add hot syrup and paddle until cooled. hope this helps!
 
ozbaker December 6, 2020
Why not correct steps 3 and 4 in the recipe?
 
Athena P. December 6, 2020
It is not 1/2 a pint of crumbled cookies, it is 1 cup. Dry measures are not described in liquid measure terms; that isn’t quaint, it’s confusing. Shame on Food52 editors for not correcting this.
 
Author Comment
Natasha P. December 6, 2020
hey there! for volume measurements i often think of 1 pint = 2 cups, but this recipe is so easygoing you can add more or less cookies, as you wish!