About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Leftover Boiled Beef Salad | Main | Bolognese Rice Cake »

Croccante - Italian Praline

Well, here we are into Desserts and I have the honour of leading off the chapter.

But I blew it.

Ingredients are pretty simple - almonds, sugar, vegetable oil, a sheet of aluminum foil and a potato. A potato? Yes, a potato.


I followed Marcella's directions as to how to skin the almonds; made sure the melted sugar reached a "rich tawny gold"; spread the vegetable oil on the aluminum foil; used the potato as per Marcella's instructions. BUT I deviated from one of Marcella's directions which likely created my problem with this recipe. Marcella indicated that the almonds are to be chopped very fine using a knife, not a food processor, into pieces about half the size of a grain of rice. Well, I didn't use a food processor, but I didn't use a knife either - I use a hand-held food chopper, which likely resulted in too many very small pieces i.e. crumbs.


The end result (below) was not like praline, more like a very sweet granola. The ingredients didn't bind together.


What I liked about this recipe:

Well, I like almonds and the list of ingredients is very small.

What didn't I like about this recipe:

Since I didn't follow one of the directions, I suppose I had a problem with that - couldn't see myself chopping all those almonds into very small pieces.

Will I make it again?

No. I don't think the effort is worth the reward, or is even a good idea for that matter. I am pretty sure I could do a better job on a second attempt, but I decided I didn't want to make it again. About the last thing I need to be doing is making and eating more candy. I'm consciously reducing my sugar consumption - will reserve my splurges for other recipes in this chapter.

Comments (2)

Oh I love this with an after dinner espresso and a grappa. Marcella made this for us in a class and I am so glad I was able to observe her chopping the almonds. I was also able to observe how darkly she caramelized the sugar. Not burnt, but just edging on bitter, not overly so. Our dinner guests love it as well.

Marcella Hazan:

Years ago, I was demonstrating this for a class in San Francisco and as I was still not quite finished with it when the students cried out "Marcella, you have burnt the sugar!" After they taste it they got the point of the very dark caramelized sugar. Sorry Doug, this is an irresistible confection and well worth learning to do well and letting your sugar quota expand a trifle.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 6, 2011 6:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Leftover Boiled Beef Salad.

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