Turrón de Navidad: A Spanish Almond and Honey Candy for Christmas

During the holiday season, I most enjoy celebrating my heritage by making traditional Spanish Christmas treats that my family has come to love. Polvorones, mantecados, buñuelos de viento, rosquillas, alfajores, and turrón de Navidad. Although so far away, it’s through these traditional family recipes that we are able to keep a Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

I’m told that Christmas time in Spain is a magical place.  The streets are brimming with lights, nativity scenes are adorned throughout the city, and pasteleria’s are filled with Christmas treats that make their appearance but once a year. What I most enjoy about Spanish Christmas treats is that the integrity of their original ingredients are mostly maintained.  Their treats are simple – made up mostly of lard, chocolate, nuts, and honey.  They’re pleasantly sweet, and rich.

Turrón de Navidad is no exception. An almond nougat candy, it consists of only three ingredients.  Roasted almonds, egg whites, and raw honey.

Turrón is of Moorish origin and was invented over 500 years ago in a small town of Spain called Jijona. The wildflowers growing in the mountainsides brought an abundance of honey which is the staple ingredient in turrón.

There are two traditional types of turrón. Soft Jijona orturrón blando, which is smooth with a consistency of peanut butter, and hard Alicante or turrón duro, which is like the recipe provided here – a thick almond nougat candy.

This recipe is what you would call a turrón casero.  One made at home.  It’s very simple to make as it only has three ingredients. The egg whites, the binding ingredient, are whipped to a glossy meringue and folded into warmed honey.  Together, its brought to heat and constantly stirred until a thick caramelized candy has been formed.  This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  Once caramelized, roasted almonds are added to the mixture and poured into a mold to cool and harden.

Once cooled, the candy can be sliced and served. Slices should be cut small, as they are rich.  I can’t think of home in Spain that doesn’t enjoy turrón de Navidad in it’s Holiday season.  I hope you can make it a part of your Holiday’s as well.

Turrón de Navidad

turron1

By Diana Bauman Published: December 18, 2012

    Turron de Navidad is a traditional Spanish candy consisting of only three ingredients: almonds, honey and egg white. It's super-simple, sweet flavor is a special treat at Christmas time. Diana Bauman, of A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. gives you this traditional Spanish treat.

    Ingredients

    • 1 3/4 cup roasted almond slivers (preferably soaked and dehydrated)
    • 1 1/2 cups raw honey
    • 3 egg whites

    Instructions

    1. Roast the almonds at 375F for 10 minutes mixing them up halfway through.
    2. In a medium sized saucepan; gently bring the honey, over medium heat, to a slow boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat off, and set aside.
    3. Whip the egg whites to a thick glossy meringue. Carefully, fold the meringue into the honey.
    4. Once the meringue has been folded into the honey, bring the mixture back up to medium heat constantly stirring for 15-20 minutes. The meringue honey mixture will soon increase in volume. As you keep stirring, it will condense itself until a thick caramel has formed. Also, the color will slowly change from a light brown to a deep burnt orange. The bottom of the mixture may start to burn a bit which is okay. It adds depth in flavor. *To test if your mixture is thick enough, add a bit to a plate and immediately place in the refrigerator. After a minute or so, if it hardens, your mixture is ready.
    5. Once the mixture has thickened add the roasted almonds and mix through. Quickly pour the turron mixture into a parchment paper lined dish. Place another piece of parchment paper directly on top of the mixture which will allow you to press it down and prevent anything from sticking to it.
    6. Cool in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before slicing. Buen provecho.

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      What people are saying

      1. Ramon says

        Brilliant recipe! Thanks very much. I still have a few days to try it and impress my German in laws with a little bit of self made Turrón in Vienna… Saludos! By the way, there are varieties of Turrón to be found in Central Europe. Aren’t there? Almonds, Marzipan as well as flavours such as cinnamon, clove, ginger are all typical from Hamburg to Italy… The fragrance coming out of the Christmas Markets offering Glühwein (Hot wine punch) is one of the most beautiful things about Christmas around here. MC!

      2. Lizet Constanza Mueller says

        This looks fabulous! I come from a Spanish family and we sure enjoyed our turrón! I had no idea it was so easy to make.
        Thanks a million!

      3. Michelle says

        This looks delicious! I celebrate Hanukkah, but candy is candy. Thanks for helping provide me with the added support I needed to make raw yogurt last week. I had directions from my milk supplier and a farmer, but needed reinforcement and referred to your blog. It was a success and SO easy the way I made it!

      4. Francie says

        I made this tonight. It tasted really good. It’s is kind of sticky, so I cut it into bite-sized pieces. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I think I cooked it long enough. It was difficult to cut. I used a 8×11 or so pan, and mine did not turn out as thick as in the pictures, which turned out to be a good thing, because you don’t want to mess with biting into it – neater to just pop a piece into your mouth. Thanks!!

          • says

            Hi Diana, I completely enjoyed the process of making this delicious and healthy candy…I felt connected to a tradition of candy making that might even date back to the middle ages, when people did not use sugar. I think i might be able to adapt this to making other yummy treats. It is brilliant the way the egg whites caramelize with the honey..the house smelled divine into the next day. I took a temperature and stopped the caramelization process @ 250 F..firm ball stage..is that the right temp? my final product was firm, but flexible and melt in your mouth..but looks more glossy than your picture.thanks in advance for the answer. I made it for a friend who used to live in Spain and can hardly wait to se his face when i gift it:) Awesome, wholesome inspirational recipe..Thanks!!!! Happy Holidays

          • Jennine says

            Hi there – thanks for sharing a unique recipe – always looking for new Christmas sweet ideas for gifts.
            Question: Is there any way to prevent the initial chunks of rubbery egg white from floating around? I carefully folded the meringue as recipe advised but it didn’t blend very well in the beginning. Also, once completed and hardened, is there a trick to cutting through the stickiness without struggle? Thanks for reply.

      5. Mike says

        Of course this is a yummy treat! How can it not be! However, if one is in the process of trying to improve overall health, which is why I subscribed to this list, this recipe is of no help in that regard. Raw honey is no longer raw after exceeding 99 degrees f. Hundreds of beneficial enzymes are destroyed above that temp. Same with the many beneficial effects of raw eggs. We have to learn that COOKING destroys vital nutrients. No, you don’t have to give up the tasty treats, just learn how to concoct them without high heat. The internet will tell you.

        • says

          Mike, thanks for the comment. Although it is very true that the benefits of raw honey are compromised in the heating process, it’s also good to remember that all types of real food should be celebrated. Throughout the year we have our fill of raw honey. I buy it by the gallons – local and raw. However, food in it’s tradition is made in a variety of ways and can be enjoyed for enjoyments sake. In Spain, the Christmas season is special and these one of a kind treats make their appearances for a short amount of time. In my home, I re-create them during this holiday season and we enjoy them for the memories that they bring. Is it benefitting us in any way, well… it’s bringing joy and that is just as much a part of our nutritional health. Of course, in small amounts. Another wonderful thing about using raw honey in this recipe is that the quality makes these treats unlike anything you can buy in a store. It’s what makes the difference between artisanal quality versus an industrially made product.

      6. says

        made this tonight as well. had all the ingredients. threw in a touch(just a small pinch)of cinnamon and ginger. mine did not turn out as thick or as light as jenny’s but then jenny is a master!! this is one of my favorite sweets. that and mexican wedding cookies. its a bit much honey($$) and certainly something to serve at a party or give as a special gift. otherwise it feels a little decadent to keep in the house.
        will try it again with perhaps another egg white. mine did not thicken up so good,but is cooling off very nicely in the frigo.

      7. Matt V says

        Don’t know about pouring it out into the mould, I fancy I could have used this as mortar it was that sticky – LOL

      8. Clare Mactaggart says

        Sounds delicious! But just curious, why do you suggest raw honey? Surely since the honey gets boiled there’s no sense in using (more expensive) raw honey in the first place?

      9. Clare Mactaggart says

        Oh – I see you’ve already commented on that. Sorry, I hadn’t refreshed the page! I’m with Mike – I hate the idea of boiling good quality raw honey at all. Seems wrong. I would save that honey for other things. But thanks for the recipe.

      10. jr says

        I made this last night and it turned into a hard, inedible lump of sliced almonds – way more like very hard caramel candy instead of anything resembling a nougat. Not sure what I did wrong, but it was an expensive disaster!

      11. Cheryl Wedding says

        Would you be able to give the weight of honey in grams please as this would make it easier to measure. Cant wait to try this.

      12. Wendy says

        I wanna try this recipe but I am hesitant because of the comments on them turning out “sticky”. I was thinking I could dust them with powdered sugar, might that lessen the stickiness. Thanks for any reply.

        • says

          Hi Wendy, yes they will be sticky. In Spain, some versions will actually put rice paper on the bottom and top to make them a bit easier to handle. But it is what it is, made of sticky honey. I keep them in the fridge until after supper where we enjoy a small cut piece. I do place each piece between parchment paper to be peeled off before eating :)

      13. Amanda says

        I had a lot of fun making this recipe (and learning about the tradition of making it)–thanks for posting! Like another reader, mine came out a bit more sticky and darker than the one pictured, but tasted just delicious. I actually cut it into very small squares and wrapped them in waxed paper like caramels (“honey-almond caramels” I called them on my gift bags). For the almonds, I used sprouted, though I tossed them in a little butter and toasted them first, for a deeper flavor, then chopped them up once cool. The overall taste reminded me of buttery popcorn (the natural stuff, not the horrible store-bought kind). It’s very sweet, but the perfect little candy to share. I only made half a batch and ended up with at least 30 “caramels.” Thanks so much, and happy holidays!

      14. says

        This was such a wonderful dessert. I loved that it was just a bit sticky and wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s the reason honey is a favorite in our house! Friends were over when I served it and they commented that this candy was by far the preference over fudge. Everyone went back for seconds! Even now I’m considering the next batch because this first one certainly didn’t last long. As always, thanks for a great recipe Jenny.

      15. Tina says

        Wow! Thanks for this recipe! Made this tonight and it is wonderful. Mine took more like 25 minutes to get as thick and burnt orange as I felt it needed – a bit of a workout stirring that long :). I followed the recipe exactly – raw honey and all. It’s Christmas! Who wants to use cheap grocery-store honey (that’s like part corn syrup) for a lovely treat like this? Not me. Diana, just subscribed to your blog!

      16. says

        Lovely recipe. I probably won’t get a chance to make it during the Christmas season (or maybe so since we go until Jan 6th), but will print and save to use whenever we are celebrating a Spanish saint throughout the year. I don’t think my children will object if I serve it then :). We try to use authentic recipes from their countries of origin. Thanks!

      17. says

        Well, this looks interesting. It’s too hot to cut so far. But it didn’t behave as the recipe said. I think the mistake I made was to use the hand-electric mixer after I put the egg whites in. It got big and fluffy and stayed that way, never settled down to a liquid nor did it caramelize. After 25 minutes I added the almonds and am now hoping. Well, the lickings tasted good anyway, even if it’s not ‘right’. The only other alteration (not that I intended to alter it) was that I used duck egg whites. Thoughts, anyone?

      18. Jennine says

        Hi there – thanks for sharing a unique recipe – always looking for new Christmas sweet ideas for gifts.
        Question: Is there any way to prevent the initial chunks of rubbery egg white from floating around? I carefully folded the meringue as recipe advised but it didn’t blend very well in the beginning. Also, once completed and hardened, is there a trick to cutting through the stickiness without struggle? Thanks for reply.

      19. Michele says

        we made this and loved it! I tried to use a candy thermometer, thought I would try to get it to 260 – the thing is that it is so puffy, it is hard to get a good read. In the end, we went with the time and it is wonderful, but a bit sticky. Thought about how Italian torrone has the wafer paper on it, but…I think that I will try dusting with potato flour as you do for home made marshmallows…

      20. Tatyana says

        Thank you so much for this recipe!! These desert was obsolutely amazing!!! I have
        One question: it was so sticky… I even coated it in
        Melted chocolate , but it still got stock to the
        Fingers… I’d there anything I can do to help
        This? Merry Christmas!!!

      21. Forrest M says

        Where can I find raw honey? I am making these for a class heritage project and want them to be authentic. If I can not find raw honey is there any problem with regular store bought honey?

      22. Danielle says

        I used to live in Morocco, and street vendors would sell this stuff–I loved it. I had no idea it contained only 3 ingredients. Thanks for the recipe!

      23. says

        What a lovely recipe! Does your family come from Spain? I’m from the south, Andalucía, and I was planning to prepare polvorones. Now, I will prepare your turrón too.
        Thank you so much,
        Ana

      24. Michelle says

        hi. This sounds yummy. I love nougat, which by the way originated in Arabia. That’s why the Moors had the recipe.

      25. Keepitreal says

        it looked and sounded good, until I read it was cooked honey and almonds. That takes every bit of nutrition out of them :(.

      26. Cynthia B says

        The directions say to put a piece of parchment paper over the top after you pour the mixture into a parchment-lined pan. Does that make the parchment hard to get off later? Doesn’t it stick to the top?

      27. Violette says

        I’ve made this twice so far. The first time was a breeze, the second time, almost a disaster! But that was no fault of the recipe’s, rather of my trying to do too many things at once.

        I made this for my co-workers last week for a Christmas lunch and it got rave reviews. Of course, I can’t leave a recipe as is; I have to tinker with it. So I added 1/2 cup of maple syrup (I live in Quebec where it is plentiful and fairly cheap), 1/4 cup each of of whiskey and Frangelico, and just before adding the almonds, two generous pinches of coarse salt. Amazing!! The flavours were rich and complex.

        My only problem with it was its unexpected stickiness. I thought I’d done something wrong, since the photo accompanying the recipe shows a dryer type of product. I painstakingly sliced it up into bite-sized pieces, prying it off the parchment paper, layered it carefully in wax paper in a container to bring it to the office, then had the pry it from the wax paper again to set it out on a cake stand at the office. Phew! Lot of work.

        But it was so amazingly delicious I decided to brave the stickiness once again and make it for the traditional Québécois réveillon de Noël (feast of Christmas eve.) And I thought, hmmm, what can I do to stop it from sticking to the paper so much? And the answer came to me: a chocolate crust! Now, the process was more complex this time as I was making this on the heels of 3 other Christmas recipes (sticky toffee cake, toasted coconut pound cake, celeri-asparagus-fennel soup for Christmas lunch), but I’m hoping the results will be conclusive. Making the chocolate crust was simple (melt the chocolate, spread it on the parchment paper, taking care to cover the sides generously), but I had a mini-disaster when I set it out to cool in the snow on the porch and the wind blew the paper over itself and the chocolate crust became a Mobius-like mess of paper and chocolate, and this, just as the turron was reaching the right consistency. I put the chocolate into a new parchment paper lining and melted it back up over the toaster oven. Meanwhile, I turned the stove down to minimum and slowed the cooking process by adding 1/4 cup of bourbon and letting that cook off for a bit. (I forgot to mention… in an attempt to make the turron more slippery, less sticky, I added 1 teaspoon of coconut oil halfway through the cooking process. Also, I did have the odd little bit of rubbery egg filaments, but I attribute that to not having folded the meringue in properly.)

        So… tomorrow afternoon I slice it up and see how it turned out.

        I have high hopes. :)

        Violette, Montreal

        P.S. I realize that my additions may not be considered to be the top-most healthy moves, but to me, this is the perfect balance between whole, healthy foods, and a decadent dessert worthy of the Christmas feast.

      28. says

        Hello!
        This is one of my mum’s favorite treats and I would love to make it for her! I have one question though: how long does this keep and do you keep it in the fridge?
        Thank you! :)
        Celine

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