This almond candy is the ultimate Christmastime candy in my house! I can just hear my oldest son’s voice when he sees it… You made Almond Candy!!
In Italian it is called Croccante, and it is a special candy to make for the holidays.
I always shape it into a wreath.
This particular recipe was hard to come by for years! It is one of my most treasured recipes. It is a very old world recipe, hence no candy thermometer. It was passed down to very few people, from select friend to friend, that type of thing. Not my way of doing things! I believe in sharing recipes!
You can find other croccante recipes, but not made quite this way. I have tweaked it a bit to make it even better I think. And I also like adding a mix of sliced and whole almonds too. Traditionally you will see it only made with whole almonds.
It is easy to put together and has just a few ingredients. The tricky part is you just have to constantly stir it and DO NOT let the syrup even come close to a boil! Be careful of that!
The recipe does not use a candy thermometer. It is only timed on medium high heat and you have to see a sticky, glossy look to the syrup. If you cook it too long, the candy will be too hard. If you cook it too little, the syrup will be too runny. If it is made just right, it cuts into pieces that are beautifully semi-soft.
To my mind, it is cooked to just under the 235 degrees F. softball stage of candy making, where you have a thickened, glossy syrup, but the syrup is not grainy. I taste it, and if it tastes grainy, I let it cook just a few seconds more.
Believe me, if it ends up being more on the hard side, it is still amazing! It took me quite a few times to get it just right! So don’t give up!
It makes one 9-inch wreath in a 10-inch plate. Or you can make two small wreaths about 5 or 6 inches.
It is an unusual, delicious treat that you don’t see or hear of often.
To me, croccante made this way is similar to pecan pralines, especially the fabulous semi-soft pralines made on River Street, in Savannah, Georgia!
See how I make this almond candy in the slideshow below.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 10 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups almonds half whole, half sliced
- Butter a 10-inch plate. Put an inverted round glass in the middle.
- WORK QUICKLY! In a heavy, medium-sized saucepot over medium high heat, mix the butter, sugar, and honey, stirring constantly until it begins to be sticky and glossy. It should take about 4-5 minutes total. DO NOT bring it to a boil!
- Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla extract and almonds.
- It is easier to use two spoons to add the mixture to the prepared plate around the inverted glass. Use one spoon to scrape off the sticky candy from the other spoon. Shape it into a wreath. Flatten the wreath a little with the back of the spoon.
- Decorate with colored sprinkles. DO NOT use fine colored sugar!
- Remove the inverted glass.
- Let the candy cool about 10 minutes, then cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- The candy can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks.
- To serve the candy, use a sharp knife to cut the wreath into irregular pieces. Try to leave the pieces in the wreath shape!