Croccante - Italian Praline(Makes about 1 pound)
Popular throughout Italy, especially in the south and Sicily, croccante (literally, crunchy) is a mixture of caramelized sugar and almonds. It is very easy to make at home. After it hardens, it is broken into pieces. It can be served alongside after-dinner coffee. It can also be crushed or ground up and used as a topping for ice cream or added as a flavoring to cannoli cream or other desserts. You can store it for weeks in a tightly covered container, but once you start munching, it won't last very long.
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1-1/2 cups whole or slivered almonds, toasted
Butter a baking sheet and set it aside on a heat-protected surface.
Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a wide, shallow pan.
With a spoon, stir continuously until the mixture looks like wet sand.
Set the pan over medium-low heat and allow the mixture to melt and caramelize.
Stir the mixture occasionally for about 10 minutes.
The mixture should be golden brown (240 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly stir in the almonds.
Pour the hot croccante on the prepared baking sheet and spread it out with a spoon. Allow the croccante to cool and harden.
After the croccante has cooled, break it into coarse pieces to use as a candy.
To use as a garnish or flavoring, chop it finely with a knife.
You can also use a food processor but don't reduce it to too fine a powder.
Store croccante in a container in a cool, dry place.