An almond brittle made of fragrant nuts, toasted to a turn and enrobed in a sumptuous amber caramel, this treat is found in every Abruzzese home at Christmas.
Although it can be made with just about any nut, at Christmas time in Abruzzo this treat is all about almonds.
•3 cups sugar
•½ cup water
•3 cups whole unblanched almonds
•lemon, cut in half
•butter-to grease 2 baking sheet
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a large baking sheet. Set aside.
Spread almonds on a second large rimmed baking sheet, and toast on middle rack of the oven about 10 minutes or until fragrant, stirring 3 times.
Remove from oven, and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine water and sugar in a 4-quart saucepan.
Cook over medium-low heat to dissolve sugar completely, stirring occasionally with a heat-proof spatula, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Avoid splashing the sides of the pan.
Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash down any crystals from sides of pan.
Increase heat to medium and continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar has taken on an amber color, about 15 minutes more.
Remove from heat. Add warm almonds, tossing very gently to evenly coat the nuts.
Quickly pour mixture onto the greased sheet pan, scraping the saucepan as little as possible.
Rub half a cut lemon over the confection to flatten it. Cut into diamond shapes while warm, or cool and break into shards. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: If you cook the sugar too long, it will burn (350 degrees F. and up.) If this happens, set the pan aside to cool. Fill it with water, and set over a medium flame to melt the sugar. You can then clean your pan with ease.
SAFETY FIRST!! This sugar is cooked to well over 300 degrees F. Before you begin, fill a medium bowl with ice water. This is for you to plunge you hand in should you be burned. Banish the kids and pets from the kitchen!