Homemade Italian torrone is one of my favorite Christmas confections, yet, I do make it beyond the holidays.
Traditional Italian nougat is soft and chewy with a nice crunch and offers a passing hint of a citrus background flavor without being the featured flavor.
Today I will share with you how to make my Nonna’s easy Italian Torrone recipe that she brought with her when she came to the United States. The Italian almond nougat candy will become one of your favorite recipes as there is no better taste during the holiday season!
Why You’ll Love Italian Nougat
- Italian homemade nougat is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat
- When you make homemade Torrone you are not limited to certain ingredients
- You can and should make this Italian confection ahead of time
- The torrone candy can be used as a gift, as a dessert, or just as an any-day sweet treat.
The combination of Honey, sugar, nuts, and egg whites effortlessly combine to provide a very fulfilling sweet treat, and making homemade torrone is so much more tasty and satisfying than eating purchased Italian nougat!
Pro Tips For Italian Nougat
First, whether you choose to make Italian Torrone with edible rectangular wafer paper or not, you can do either!
Second, while this is not an advanced recipe, you will need to pay attention to the details of the recipe to get this right and you must use a candy thermometer!
Third, you won’t need your oven, but you will be using your stove.
Last, a stand mixer makes the mixing effortless but this can be done efficiently with a hand mixer as well (do note that mixing at one point becomes a little bit difficult due to the nougat hardening as you are mixing so a stand mixer does much better for this part of the recipe.)
Equipment Needed TO Make Italian Nougat
- Stand Mixer
- 9×13 pan
- Parchment Paper
- Candy Thermometer
- Sauce Pot
- Rubber Scraper
- Mixing Bowls (Nuts)
Ingredients For Your Homemade Italian Nougat
- Egg Whites
- Granulate Sugar
- Organic Honey
- Whole Almonds Toasted
- Shelled Pistachios
- Lemon Or Orange zest whatever your preference
- Vanilla extract
- Cornstarch dusting powder (or oil)
How to Make Authentic Homemade Italian Torrone
Step 1: Prepare a 9″ x 13″ Pan For The Torrone
Greasing it then lining it with parchment paper that is taller than the walls of the pan on all sides, then setting that aside.
Step 2: The Egg Whites
You’ll whip the egg whites and salt, using the stand mixer’s whipping attachment. Then once your egg whites are foaming and frothy, add in a bit of the white sugar, and beat that mixture of eggs and sugar until it creates a medium-soft peak.
Step 3: Honey + Sugar
In your saucepot on the stove, add in the remaining sugar and the organic honey, bringing it to a boil using high heat to achieve this.
This is the trickiest part of the whole process.
You’ll need to make sure that the honey does not boil over, so using your candy thermometer watch the temperature carefully and when you hit 280°F you can stir less frequently.
Once you’ve achieved 315°F remove the nougat from the heat and allow it to cool to 300°F.
Step 4: While Cooling The Honey Sugar Combination…
Prepare your mixer and the egg whites that are in the bowl for the combination of the sweet hot mix to the froth-peaked egg whites.
Once the honey and sugar are cooled, to 300°F remove them from the stove and pour down the SIDE OF THE MIXING BOWL, while the mixing is running at its highest mixing speed.
You will experience a temporary and quick PUFF from the meringue meets the sugar and honey mixture, but it calms as you continue whipping (but it will be somewhat fluffy)
Also note that anything that sticks to the side of the bowl and does not get mixed in will harden as a brown color against the walls of the mixer (just so you know, just ignore it and keep mixing as this is the quick part of the recipe)
The whole process will take your frothy eggs to a thicker nougat and you will see this happen in anywhere between 4-6 minutes.
Step 5: Remove The Italian Nougat From The Mixer Stand And Go Nuts
At the point that the Italian Nougat has formed, you will remove the mixing bowl from the stand and then add in the nuts that have been prepared in vanilla with zests of either lemon or orange and by hand combine them into the bowl.
Stir and work as quickly as possible because this is where the TOrrone is actually starting to harden and you need to get it out of the bowl and into the prepared pan.
Step 6: Forming The Pan Of Italian Torrone
With the prepared pan in front of you, remove the torrone mixture from the bowl into the pan, scraping as much of the mixture as you can from the sides of the bowl (it hardens fast right now any is harder to work with)
To help you form the rectangle in the pan you have 2 methods:
- You can use corn starch on your hands and then push the torrone mixture into the corners as well as throughout the pan, leveling it as even as possible.
- Or, you can use a bit of cooking oil on plastic food gloves (make sure they can withstand the heat) and form the nougat in this manner but do not add too much oil you do not want a flavor or a gleam, just use enough to keep the nougat from sticking to your fingers.
Once you have formed the Italian Nougat in the pan, let this cool completely for up to 4 hours before slicing.
Step 7: Slicing Your Authentic Italian Torrone
Before you attempt to cut your torrone, you will want to slide your knife into a paper towel you add a little oil.
Oil on a knife is key to moving the knife through the set Italian Torrone and not having it stick!
Cut your torrone and store it in a single layer, in an airtight container.
Nut Alterative Options with Homemade Italian Torrone
The 2 official nuts of Italian nougat are almonds and pistachios, and really, walnuts are not a good fit nor are pecans.
However, if you are not a nut snob you could use them, but they won’t be official Italian nougat.
I’ve never deviated from the nuts because the taste is amazing!
As my Nonna was very specific in her recipe, most recipes out there also use the exact same nuts, and the taste just would not be the same with any other nuts.
Other ingredients you might consider adding:
- dried Italian Citron
- dried apricot
- dried cranberries or dried cherries or blueberries
- macadamia nuts and dried pineapple
Prep Work For the Homemade Italian Torrone
You’ll start out by prepping a 9 x 13″ pan and I suggest a heavy and stable pan.
A rectangle is a right shape and perfect for cutting Italian nougat into bars.
You will both GREASE the pan and then add parchment paper atop the greased pan.
During prep, when you are ready to combine everything and then place it into your 9″ x 13″ pan, you will use cornstarch.
Cornstarch allows you to work with the Italian nougat and not stick to it, did you know that?
Also, cornstarch should be lightly dusted across the cutting board after your Torrone has sat for 3 hours and is ready to be transferred to a cutting board to be cut into pieces.
Again, a simple dusting of cornstarch prevents sticking and Does NOT alter the taste!
Eggs + Room Temperatures + Italian Nougat.
No matter what recipe I work with, when there are eggs involved, I use room-temperature eggs, but I never let an egg sit on the counter.
Rather, I use a cup of warm faucet water and allow the eggs to sit within the glass, and the eggs come to a temperature.
It’s a very efficient way to bring an egg to room temperature and a way to make your baking, cooking, etc, accurate as a room temperature egg works best in most (not all recipes)
The SIDE OF THE BOWL + Homemade Italian Torrone
After you have prepared the honey and sugar combination on the stove and allowed it to cool, it is critical that you really use the SIDE of the mixing bowl that contains the whipped egg whites when pouring in the cooled honey and sugar mixtures.
If you dump the cooled sugar mixture right on the egg white mix, it would ruin its consistency.
Therefore, remove the bowl from the mixing stand and slowly pour down the side of the bowl, and then place it on the mixer stand and mix.
Now, you will note, that you will be working quickly through all of this.
As this mixture comes together, the mixer may strain a bit, but it will make it through.
Your exterior touch to the bowl will be key in recognizing if you are done mixing, as it should become cool to touch.
Italian Nougat + Nuts and Citrus.
You’ll be adding the nuts in once the egg whites and sugar mixture are combined and cooled.
But at this point of the recipe, you will hustle as the nougat will begin to set.
So, you will hand mix in (fold) both nut varieties as well as either lemon zest or orange zest whichever you have chosen to use.
Achieving the proper temperature of honey and sugar on the stove
One of the biggest markers of achievement in this recipe is the honey and sugar combination made on the stove.
A few quick things.
First, you combine the ingredients and stir them constantly until you achieve 280°F.
Once you hit this temperature, you can keep the boiling process moving forward, but you do not need to keep string because once the temperature is achieved, honey will no longer boil over.
Continue cooking this combination until you reach 315° F.
Then you’ll be removing the pot from the stove and allow it to cool to about 300°F.
This is the mixture you will use to add to the side of the bowl I discussed above.
GRAB THE RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE ITALIAN TORRONE HERE ↓
Authentic Homemade Italian Torrone
Traditional and authentic Italian Torrone is a nougat confection, containing nuts, honey sugars, and a few other simple ingredients.
About 40 minutes to create and a few hours to set, this treat is a staple in our home, and it's always made for Christmas.
- 3 LARGE Egg Whites (see NOTES for how to make sure this is room temperature)*
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 1/4 C of granulated Sugar
- 2 C of Organic Raw Pure Honey ( I would suggest the cleanest most pure honey you can buy)
- 2 C Raw Almonds (whole + raw) Blanced or not (your choice) Toasted on the stove
- 1 1/2 C Pistachios (shelled)**
- 2-3 teaspoons of either Lemon Zest or Orange Zest freshly zested
- 2 teaspoons of Vanilla
- Cornstarch - is used only for your fingers when touching and forming the Italian Nougat (or you can use gloves and oil )
- Edible Wafer Paper
- Grease your pan, then add the parchment paper. The parchment paper must be taller than the walls of the pan so that nothing will stick.
- Set this pan aside. (if you are adding rice paper, add it now to the BOTTOM OF THE PAN. )
- Using your whipping attachment on your mixer or hand mixer, you will whip the egg whites and a 1/4 tsp of salt and watch for this combination to become foamy/frothy.
- Once foaming, gradually (don't dump in or you will destroy the meringue in process) add 1/4 c of the sugar.
- Mix until the combination can hold a soft peak when the WHIP attachment is lifted out of it. Once this occurs set this aside and move on to the nougat prep.
- The stove burner should be on high heat + you will want a large saucepot (the one you can lift and dump from with ease once ingredients are combined in because you will be dumping the mixture out of this pot into your egg white mixture once it comes to temperature)
- To the pot, on high heat, add the remaining sugar and honey, and STIR constantly until 280°F
- Once you've reached 280°F you can stop stirring constantly but do continue to boil at this heat level until your mixture reaches 315°F - which is about 5 to 7 minutes more depending on your stove.
- Once 315 °F is achieved, remove the pot from the stovetop and allow the mixture to COOL while STIRRING IT, to a temperature of 300°F. (this happens rather quickly)
- Also, you'll want to have your egg white combination that you set aside accessible.
- FOR THE NEXT FEW STEPS YOU WILL BE WORKING QUICKLY WITHOUT INTERRUPTION YOU CAN NOT STOP SO BE COMMITTED
- Once the honey and sugar combination has cooled to 300°F you will take that mixture and combine it by POURING IT DOWN THE SIDE OF THE BOWL (not the middle) little by little while running your egg white mixture in the bowl at HIGH SPEED.
- DO NOTE: (initially, when you combine the hot to the cold you may see it get puffy but no worries it deflates as fast as it got puffy but no worries this is normal)
- Mix this until the outside of your mixing bowl becomes COOL to touch, As you mix this combination (the meringue) it will thicken
- Once the meringue has cooled from mixing, it's time to remove the bowl from your mixer stand (if using) and in your nuts, the fresh lemon or orange zest (whichever you have chosen), and vanilla.
- THIS IS ALL MIXED BY HAND WITH A STRONG WOODEN SPOON.
- Now transfer all the mixture from your bowl to the 9x13 baking pan, working very fast here as it cools and sets quickly,
- Grab your cornflour because you will be dipping your fingers into it to flatten the mixture and tuck it into the entire pan. Push the mixture with your cornflour-dipped fingers into the corners, and flatten as you are making a bar, don't smoosh, just make it flat.
- * (IF YOU ADDED edible wafer paper IT IS ALREADY ON THE BOTTOM, SO JUST ADD THE MIXTURE ON TOP OF THIS ) **OPTIONAL STEP YOU DON'T NEED TO USE RICE PAPER,
- Set aside to cool for up to 5 hours, (do not refrigerate it's not that kind of cooling).
- Once cooled, remove from the baking pan onto a lightly cornstarch-coated cutting board (so it does not stick) r, and remove parchment paper.
- Use a knife to cut it into pieces. (you can spray your knife with cooking spray or brush it with veggie oil so that it won't stick when you cut it both methods work)
- Do NOT stack this when you store it, single layers only. (I can tell you without a doubt that IF you stack it on itself, it will flatten and squash, so do not ruin what you just created, single layer storage only.
9x13 baking pan (greased + lined)
*If your eggs are cold your recipe will fail. In order to create room temperature eggs, simply run your faucet to hot, and using a bowl or measuring cup, place the eggs inside the bowl or cup in the warm water for up to 10 minutes which will bring the EGGS to room temperature.
**For those that prefer pistachios, reverse the amounts for Almonds to 1 1/2 C and pistachios to 2 C
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