Spanish Turrón de Alicante
Turrón de Alicante is one of the most popular sweets enjoyed around Christmas time, and is a hard almond nougat that is hard and crunchy, and well worth the effort to make. This sweet candy is gluten free, dairy free, and can be made with a variety of nuts, but the most common is almonds or pistachios.
Spain is one of my favorite countries in the whole world, and a large part of that has to do with their incredible food culture. From the wine to the tapas to the sweets, the Spanish people how to eat well that’s for sure, so when it came to the holidays I knew that I had to try my hand at a traditional Spanish dessert — and what is more Spanish than Turrón.
If you have ever wandered through Spain, or even a Spanish influenced country outside of Spain, most likely you have come across Turrón, which is a hard (or soft) almond nougat that is a classic Spanish sweet, and very popular around the holidays
While turrón definitely requires some technique, it really isn’t that difficult to make and is well worth the effort in the end when you have this impressive candy to serve around the holidays.
When making turrón you begin by heating honey in a large skillet over low heat. Making sure that the heat stays low is the most important part of this process. Once you have heated the honey for 15 minutes you then add the sugar and stir the mixture consistently for another 15 minutes. The honey/sugar mixture will then begin to resemble the consistency of caramel, which is just what you are looking for.
After 30 minutes it is then time to whip your egg white using a high speed mixer. While the egg white is whipping into a soft peaks make sure to continue to stir you honey/sugar mixture. Then once the egg white has formed soft peaks you can slowly begin to add the honey/sugar mixture to the egg white, mixing on medium speed.
This was the most difficult part of the whole process in my opinion because my honey/sugar mixture was sometimes getting caught on the sides of the mixer or in the blades of the mixer. To avoid this you can slow the mixer down while slowly spooning in the honey/sugar mixture, and then increase the speed, repeating this process until the honey/sugar mixture has all been added to the egg white.
At this point your turrón will be fluffy and a nice white color. You can now fold your toasted almonds into the turrón mixture and then scoop it all into a bread pan lined with parchment paper that you will place in the oven at 170 degrees F for 2 hours.
Once the turrón has baked I would recommend allowing it to cool for at least one hour before cutting into rectangles and serving. This will help the turrón harden into the nice crunchy texture.
Spanish Turrón de Alicante
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Place blanched almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes.
Once almonds are toasted remove from oven and place to the side. Reduce the heat of the oven to 170 degrees F.
Next in a large frying pan cook honey and sugar over low heat for 10 minutes and then increase to medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil and the temperature reaches 250. At this point you will have a nice caramel colored mixture in the pan.
Now add the egg whites to a mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form (still stirring the honey mixture consistently).
Next, add the honey mixture slowly to the egg white in a steady stream, mixing on low speed.
Once the honey mixture has been added to the egg whites continue beating at a medium speed for about 20 minutes.
To test if you turrón is ready simply add a drop of the mixture to a glass of cold water. It should form a semi-hard ball, which is when you will know that the turrón is ready.
At this point fold your toasted almonds and vanilla extract into the turrón, and then pour the turrón into a bread pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornstarch to keep the turrón from sticking to the paper.
Allow the turrón to set overnight before slicing and serving.