Torrone (Italian Nougat Candy)
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Torrone isn’t your average nougat candy – it’s better than any other!! It’s light, sweet, and soft, with heavenly floral and citrus notes. Tiny bits of pistachio and almonds add just a slight crunch. Make a batch of this Italian nougat for the holidays, a potluck dessert, or just because. Find any excuse to make it, and I think you’ll wish you had done it sooner!!
There’s just something special about Italian desserts. With a few exceptions (I’m looking at you, Bomboloni), they aren’t overly heavy or rich.
Instead, they’re all about highlighting the natural flavors of the ingredients. And that’s what I love about torrone nougat!
Light as air and sticky sweet, biting into a piece of Italian nougat is like taking a mouthful of a lemony, nutty, honey-flavored cloud!
You don’t need to feel guilty about eating or serving processed, unhealthy sweets full of artificial sweeteners and dyes. This candy is all natural and it’s scrumptious!!
If you like the nutty flavors of torrone candy, you’ll go nuts for Italian cream cake and pignoli cookies! If nuts aren’t your thing, make a tiramisu, Italian fig cookies, or wedding cookies instead.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Wafer Paper -The foundation for every respectable torrone recipe!
If you have a hard time finding it in the grocery store, you can snag wafer paper on Amazon. In a pinch, another option is rice paper.
- Honey – The sweet, sticky flavor of honey is absolutely heavenly alongside the nuts and lemon!
Good substitutes for honey are maple syrup, molasses, or corn syrup… But they’re not nearly as tasty. Use honey if possible!
- Eggs – Whisking the egg whites will be so much faster and easier if you let your eggs come to room temperature first.
This is a crucial ingredient in all white nougat recipes!
- Almonds and Pistachios – These two nuts define the torrone, but don’t let that stop you from using a different type of nut instead.
Hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, or pecans could be yummy. Just be sure to toast them so they’re softer and easier to bite into.
- Lemon Oil or Zest – Lemon oil is your best bet for a strong, noticeable citrus flavor. But use it sparingly – a little bit goes a long way! You only need 3 or 4 drops of oil.
If you’re using lemon zest, you’ll need at least one large-sized lemon.
Sometimes people make the recipe using orange zest instead of lemon – feel free to make a batch of orange torrone nougat, too!
The Italian candy has a lemony, honey-sweet flavor with just a bit of nuttiness from almonds and pistachios. In other words, it tastes delicious!
The perfect Italian nougat should be soft and springy, almost like a sponge! It’s very easy to pour, slice, serve, and carve into any shapes you like.
There are also bits of crunchy roasted nuts in the center, so it has a fantastic mix of textures… It’s a great holiday food gift idea, too!
Italian nougat and torrone are one and the same! There are other kinds of nougat, including brown and German, but our torrone recipe makes a white nougat.
Tips for Perfect Italian Nougat
Honestly, there are really no secret or special tricks necessary to making this homemade candy.
All you really need for perfect torrone are two things: patience and attention. Each step takes time and care!
- Monitor the heat.
The sugar and honey need to be heated slowly and stirred continuously.
Once the whipped egg whites are added, you need to continue whisking on low heat until you get that light, thick consistency.
- Don’t rush it.
If the nougat is thin and pools on the baking sheet, give it more time on the stovetop. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and there’s perfect, fluffy torrone waiting at the finish line! But it’s important to take your time.
Storing and Freezing
This one is easy – as long as it’s in an airtight container, torrone candy can be kept right on your countertop for up to 2 weeks!
This all depends on proper storage, though. If you let it sit out, it will absorb the moisture from the air and get yucky fast!
It should keep for a couple of months in the freezer, too. When you’re ready to enjoy it, first let it thaw in the fridge, then bring it to room temperature.
This is the best way to maintain the light, airy texture of your nougat candy.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Torrone (Italian Nougat Candy)
- 2 sheets wafer paper, 8”x11”
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup honey
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
- 3-4 drops lemon oil, or 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 cups roasted almonds
- 1 cup roasted salted pistachios
- Combine sugar and honey in a heavy bottomed pot; a Dutch oven works best for even heat distribution.
- Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 30-40 minutes, or until honey and sugar is smooth and creamy. *It’s important to heat the mixture slowly, stir constantly, and not bring it to a boil. Use a silicone spatula to keep any sugar crystals scraped down into the mixture.
- Place the two egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Use a whisk to transfer one scoop of the egg white mixture at a time into the sugar mixture on the stovetop. Continue whisking in scoops of the egg white until all of it has been mixed into the pot.
- Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, for an additional 45 minutes. Cook until the mixture is white and quite thick.
- Meanwhile, roast the nuts if they are not already roasted. Spread on a sheet pan and cook at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until golden and very fragrant. Set aside, but keep warm.
- After cooking the full sugar/egg white mixture for 45 minutes, remove from heat. Stir in the extracts and lemon oil or zest. Stir in the warm nuts until completely combined.
- Test the mixture by dropping a small blob on a piece of parchment paper. Observe if the mixture holds its shape or if it spreads out. If the mixture still spreads, go ahead and cook the whole mixture 10-20 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the torrone is very thick.
- Line a half sheet pan or a 9×9 dish with plastic wrap. Place one sheet of wafer paper flat on the bottom of the pan. Trim the paper as needed to fit the pan.
- Pour the torrone mixture over the wafer paper. Use a spatula to push the mixture smooth and flat. Place the second sheet of wafer paper over the top. Wrap the plastic wrap tightly around the top of the torrone. Use a heavy flat pan or cutting board to apply weight to the top of the torrone and to press it flat.
- Allow candy to cool at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Remove the plastic wrap from the block of torrone. Use a serrated knife to slice into 1” squares.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published August 2022
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What is lemon oil? Buy it? Make it?
Lemon oil for cooking is made from the zest of lemons, there’s actually no oil in it at all. Typically, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. If you’d like to try making it yourself, you could try this recipe.
TSRI Team member,
Rice paper question: does the rice paper stay on the top and the bottom of the candy after you slice it? Do people just peel it off or do they eat the rice paper along with the nougat slice?
This is the first time I’m working with rice paper so I kind of want to try to understand it a little better.
The rice paper does stay and and is edible. Hope this helps. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!
TSRI Team Member,
I thought Nougat would be hard to make, but the recipe was easy to follow and it came out perfect!
Just made this candy. We lived in Sicily twice, 3 years each time and bought this candy and shipped to family back in the States. Everyone lived it. I was surprised to find the recipe and decided to make it to surprise hubby. It was A LOT of stirring!!! It’s gonna sit overnight before we cut it. Thinking of dipping cut pieces in white chocolate coating as that is how we got it in candy store. Thanks for the recipe, brings back lots of special memories!
Great recipe overall but a few things could have been detailed a bit better. I like to use temperature when making candy. I found another recipe that indicated 290F for temp of melted sugar/honey mixture prior to adding whites. I also decided to slowly add the hot candy to the cool whipped whites directly into my mixer as it was mixing and then completed in the mixer rather than mixing whipped whites into candy and putting it back on the heat. It worked out well and I did less mixing by hand. I followed this recipe otherwise. TY!
Oh my gosh!! I was so excited when I saw this recipe! When I was a young teen, the lady next door was born in Italy and was an excellent cook. She took me under her wing and taught me so many Italian recipes. I used to love to get invited to dinner on Tuesdays and Sundays for her wonderful pasta dinners! She used to make this candy for Christmas and I remember watching her standing next to the stove forever, stirring that pot! But it was sooo worth it!! Now I’m the old lady, and I have hand problems, but I think I’ll try to make this candy for the holidays and send some over to her daughters. I’ll get help with the stirring! Thank you so very much for sharing this winner of a candy recipe!! It sounds just like she used to make it!!
P.S.: I always look forward to your e-mails. I know there’ll be something good coming in!!