torrone al cioccolato
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes plus chilling
MAKES: 24 bars
A traditional Italian candy, torrone ranges in texture from soft to firm. This one is soft with a good chew. Edible wafer paper, which is flavorless, adds textural contrast and helps keep bars of candy from sticking to one another.
- 4 (8-x-11-inch) sheets edible wafer paper or rice paper*
- 2 cups hazelnuts
- ¼ cup water
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup clover or other mild honey
- 3 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Special equipment: candy thermometer
Heat oven to 275º. Line the bottom of a 9-x-13-inch baking dish with rice paper.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet; bake until roasted and skins come off easily, about 25 minutes. Wrap nuts in a clean dishtowel; rub to remove loose skins.
Combine water and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar is dissolved, add chocolate and stir to melt; reduce heat to low to keep warm.
In a heavy medium saucepan, heat remaining 1 cup sugar and honey over medium-low heat until just beginning to bubble. Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash any sugar crystals down side of pot. Put candy thermometer into syrup and continue heating, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 315º (upper end of hard crack stage).
When thermometer reaches 300°, place egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk; beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Remove syrup from heat and let stand until bubbles dissipate.
With mixer at low speed, slowly add syrup to egg whites in a thin stream down side of bowl; increase speed to high and beat until mixture doubles in size. Turn mixer off, let mixture settle, then return speed to high, beating until mixture begins to stick to whisk, about 5 minutes. Add chocolate and nuts; beat on medium speed to combine. Increase speed to high and mix until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
Spoon torrone mixture into prepared baking dish; spread to an even layer. Cover top with rice paper and refrigerate uncovered, until firm, about 8 hours.
Run a knife around edges of pan. Invert torrone onto a cutting board. Leaving wafer paper on, trim ends, and cut torrone into 1½-x-3-inch bars. Wrap each bar in parchment paper.
Note: Edible wafer paper is available at specialty baking shops or online. Torrone keeps in an airtight container in a dry place at cool room temperature 2 weeks.
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