Croccante - Italian Pine Nut Brittle
December 18, 2009


I hope you're all enjoying this fun time of year. I love all the holiday baking and decorating and gift buying. Plus we have two boys who have birthdays this month. And I just have to show you their birthday cakes that I got from A Piece O' Cake bakery where I live.  They are works of art:

Aren't they beautiful?  They're both so different (just like our boys)!  Then we get to enjoy the Christmas season.  Here's a little Christmas cheer from my house to yours:

Do you need a good recipe this holiday season for a nice homemade gift?  This Italian brittle is beautiful and delicious and a snap to make.  Traditionally, it is made with almonds but this version is from Gina DePalma and has a little twist - she makes it with pine nuts.  You can certainly make it with whatever nuts you like.  I've made it with hazelnuts and that is nice, too.  Gina also crumbles it up as uses it as a topping for cheesecakes at Babbo.  I've also  included some links to some more homemade treats you can make from other bloggers at the end of this post.

tip:  When making this recipe, or any recipe that calls for a candy thermometer, do yourself a favor and get a digital thermometer with a clip like this one.  It's much easier to use than a glass one, which you have to hold in the pan and you always end up burning your fingers and they are not as accurate as the ones with a digital readout.  



Pine Nut Croccante

from Dolce Italiano
for a printer friendly recipe, click here 


makes about 4 cups



Line a 13-by-9-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment or wax paper, then lightly grease the paper with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir the sugar and water together.  Add the butter and corn syrup and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Turn up the heat to high and continue to cook until the mixture turns deep golden brown and registers 350 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

Immediately turn off the heat and very carefully remove the candy thermometer. Stir in the salt with a large wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, then stir in the pine nuts.  Make sure the caramel coats all the nuts.

Turn the mixture out onto the jelly-roll pan and, using a spatula, spread it toward the sides of the pan so the nuts are in a single layer.  Let the brittle cool completely before breaking it into pieces and storing in an airtight plastic container.  Keep in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

To prepare the brittle for a garnish or topping, break it into small pieces and then chop it using a large chef's knife.  (I just broke mine apart).


If you'd like more ideas for neat holiday treats, how about these:

Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks has these beautiful Sparkling Cranberries and I'm definitely making these.

Delicious Days has fun Cocoa Hazelnut Spritz Cookies.

Gaby (my goddaughter) over at What's Gaby Cooking has some incredible Devil's Food Cake Snowballs.

Luisa, The Wednesday Chef, has pretty Cardamom Pistachio Cookies.

And Maggie at Dog Hill Kitchen has dairy-free Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.

Article originally appeared on The Italian Dish (
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