I did it!

My first real candy-making attempt in years.  I did it!

I have cooked and baked all my life, but candy-making has always juuuust slightly eluded me.

Candy-making is an unforgiving science – and I am not a scientist.    The old adage that cooking is an art and baking a science is definitely true.  But I’ve been baking long enough to know where I can change or substitute things and get my desired result.  Bread-baking is totally touch and feel.  Yes, the science is getting the right ratios of leavening, flour, and liquid, but it is the feel of the dough that lets you know when that balance has been achieved.

Not so with candy.

It is exacting step-by-step, exact temperatures, exact, exact, exact.  I am so not an exact person.

But I was today – and it came out great!

The only hassle I had was blanching the almonds.  And that wasn’t difficult – just time-consuming.  There is a suburban conspiracy going on around me.  None of the local stores had whole blanched almonds.  So…  I blanched a pound of them, myself.  It’s not difficult.  Pour boiling water over them, let them sit for 2 minutes, drain, rinse under cold water.  Drain, again, and slip off the skins.

There’s a lot of almonds in a pound,.  It took me about 45 minutes to do them.

The recipe comes from La Cucina Italiana Magazine and it was extremely straightforward and easy to follow.  The candy did exactly what it said it was going to do in the recipe at every step.  It was great.  The one caveat is this is  a sticky, sticky candy.  And I do mean sticky.  I broke a heavy-duty spatula stirring in the nuts.  It was old, granted, but it was my favorite.  Oh well.

The only change I made was to use edible rice paper instead of cornstarch and parchment paper.  I laid out the rice paper on a sheet pan, spread the torrone on it, topped it with rice paper, rolled it to the desired thickness, and then cut it after it had cooled and set.




  • Cornstarch for dusting
  • 3 cups whole blanched almonds
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup clover honey
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large orange

Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer


Heat oven to 350º.  Lightly dust a clean work surface with cornstarch. Line a 9- x 13- inch baking dish with parchment paper, letting excess paper hang over edges.

Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once halfway through, until fragrant and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack; let nuts cool completely.

Put egg whites and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk; set aside.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan with candy thermometer attached, heat sugar and honey over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture begins to simmer and sugar is mostly dissolved, 12 to 14 minutes (mixture will be very thick, then begin to loosen and turn cloudy). Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches 280º degrees. Continue to cook mixture, stirring once or twice, until temperature reaches 315º. It will take the mixture about 15 minutes more to reach that temperature (the mixture will begin to foam and darken in color as temperature increases).

Meanwhile, beat egg whites on medium speed until firm peaks form. Add confectioners sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute more. Turn off mixer, leaving bowl in place.

When sugar mixture reaches 315º, remove from heat; stir until temperature reduces to 300º, 1 to 2 minutes, then carefully remove candy thermometer. With mixer on medium speed, slowly pour sugar mixture down the side of the bowl (egg mixture will double in volume, then decrease); continue to beat until mixture is cooled to warm and begins to lighten in color, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and zest; beat for 1 minute more, then, using a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, fold in nuts (mixture will be very sticky).

Turn out candy onto prepared work surface; dust hands with cornstarch. Knead for 5 to 6 turns, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Dust hands with more cornstarch, then press candy to flatten and fill pan. Put pan on wire rack and let candy cool completely, about 1 hour.

Using parchment paper overhang, lift out candy from pan; cut candy into pieces. Layer in a sealed container, between sheets of parchment paper and let stand overnight, with container sealed and at room temperature, to dry, at least 8 hours or overnight. Candy can be kept, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in a sealed container at room temperature, for up to 3 weeks.

The recipe makes about 2 1/2 pounds of candy.

There’s a recipe for Chocolate Torrone that I’m going to try next…  I just have to watch myself.   I tend to get a bit cocky after a success like this and not pay attention the second time around.

I really need to pay attention!