One of my close friends, upon tasting Muhammara (a Lebanese spread) for the first time, proclaimed… “this, this is what I’ve been missing my whole life!” That’s exactly how I felt when I tasted Italian Torrone for the first time. I was given a gift of a log or bar (however you want to call it) of torrone candy right before Halloween and I just couldn’t get over it, still can’t. This is absolutely the best candy I’ve tasted and I’m just so glad to have discovered it.
Once I tasted it, I knew I wanted to try and make this at home for some holiday gifts. So, my friend Annalise, who is way more of a pro than me, came and we stirred and stirred until our beautiful white torrone was ready. Once it set, I sliced the bars then wrapped them in parchment, using my friend Ana’s cute packaging for the perfect finishing touches.
Torrone is a all natural nougat candy. One of the best things about it is the simplicity and purity of the ingredients, no processed additions just honey, egg whites, and nuts. The torrone I first tasted comes form a company out of New York, Torrone.co. They are putting their spin on the Italian treat. I based my recipe on their ingredient list but decided to go for a more traditional Italian style torrone and forgo adding any sugar so this recipe is short and sweet – honey, egg whites, and nuts. Plus a little salt and vanilla but you can skip that too if you’d like. All you really need is those three ingredients and some time over the stove to stir.
How did my homemade version line up with the torrone I first tasted?! Mine was thinner, slightly harder and a little less sweet. I definitely won’t stop buying the real deal from Torrone but it was also a lot of fun to make it at home and we enjoyed every little bite that didn’t make it into our gifts. Torrone makes a perfect edible gift whether you spend the time to make this at home or if you buy some online.
Torrone is best made with good company in the kitchen. Alternatively, good music, or just some quiet brainless time of stirring is also a good pairing for the job!
Here are some packaging ideas for edible gifts from my friend Ana over at Welovecitrus:
•parchments paper and brown craft boxes make for a great blank canvas to start you packaging
•use colorful string or tape and small thoughtful labels
•small trees and pinecones are a fun added touch, also tiny herbs or greenery can go a long way
•use thin wire or small clothes pins to attach labels
check out welovecitrus on instagram for more packaging ideas
Homemade Torrone Recipe
- 1/2 pound of honey, use a high grade Italian honey for best results
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 pound of nuts, I use a mixture of almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, I used a white vanilla extract for this
- Cover a loaf pan or small square baking dish (8 inch by 8 inch) with parchment paper. Have another sheet of parchment paper ready to cover the top of the torrone once its done cooking.
- Place the nuts on a single layer in a baking tray and toast in oven at 350º F, about 8 minutes or until shiny and fragrant. Set aside.
- Place honey in a double boiler or large bowl over a saucepan of water (bain marie) on the lowest heat. Make sure the bowl is not touching the water. Heat honey until it melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- In the meantime, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl.
- Add the whites to the bowl of honey, stirring with the wooden spoon to incorporate. It should turn into a caramel-coloured cream. Keep cooking, stirring slowly but continuously over gentle heat for 45 minutes (It's best to just set a timer for this). The mixture should thicken and become pale. A small test should determine that your torrone is at a good stage – a drop of the mixture in a glass of water should solidify into a soft ball, not dissolve immediately.
- Add the nuts, salt and vanilla to the mixture and continue cooking and stirring for 30 minutes(set the timer again so you make sure to cook for the full 30 minutes). Pour into your prepared baking dish. Top with additional parchment and smooth it down, pressing the torrone gently with your hands.
- Place in a cool place to set for a couple of hours. When set, cut the torrone into thick slices with a sharp, heavy knife. Wrap in parchment tie with string or tape for the perfect homemade holiday gift. Keeps very well wrapped in parchment and stored somewhere cool.
To purchase Torrone go to Torrone.co
For cute packaging sets including tags and twine go to welovecitrus