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Catholic Recipe: Croccante--Almond Crunch

    INGREDIENTS

  • 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
  • Details

  • Yield: 3 dozen pieces
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: All
  • Origin: Italy

Croccante, which means cracklings, reminds one of peanut brittle, except that this sweet confection is made from almonds or hazelnuts. It is usually available 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.

Almonds are particularly popular in the Umbrian region where Sts. Francis and Clare lived. This is a gluten free recipe to share for their feast days.

DIRECTIONS

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; is should register 300 degrees 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.

Recipe Source: Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito, Hearst Books, 1995
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