A Classic Christmas Dessert Recipe from Sicily

Updated 2018.
When writing my guest article on Italian Christmas desserts, I asked my friend Maria Louisa Manca, who is a very good cook from Catania (a beautiful city situated on the slope of Mount Etna) to share a favorite dessert from her native Sicily.

Here is Maria Louisa’s classic recipe for Croccante alle Mandorle Siciliano:
Ingredients: (for 7-8 servings)
500 grams almonds, lightly toasted
6 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of honey
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of grated orange peel

In a pan, over low heat, melt the sugar and the honey. Add the almonds and the cinnamon. Stir until the mixture thickens, taking care not to burn the almonds, approximately 5 minutes. Toward the end, add the grated orange peel. Turn the contents of the pan onto an oiled marble surface. With a wooden spoon spread the mixture into a compact rectangular shape, about 1 or 2 centimeters thick. When it is cool, with a sturdy knife, cut into smaller pieces and serve.

There is something very magical about the holidays that draws us all together… and yes even into the kitchen to prepare our favorite dolci! It is the nostalgia for the times we spend together, past and present, that make our holiday traditions and foods so special…and so sweet! — Melissa Muldoon

Melissa Muldoon writes the Italian language blog Diario di una Studentessa Matta.