MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN
Croccante, which means cracklings, reminds me of peanut brittle, except that this sweet confection is made from almonds or hazelnuts. I usually buy it at street fairs and outdoor markets in Italy. Croccante is great party food. For gift giving, pile it into a fancy candy dish or decorative jar.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups blanched whole almonds
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Brush a marble slab or cookie sheet with the oil. Place all the remaining ingredients in a heavy nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes, or until the syrup has turned a deep caramel color and is very foamy; it should register 300°F on a candy thermometer.
Immediately pour the mixture out onto the oiled slab or cookie sheet, spreading it evenly with the spoon. Let cool completely.
Cut the croccante into rough 1-inch pieces with a heavy knife. Store in airtight jars.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.
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