My husband and I love to travel. We try to go on a big adventure somewhere new every year and this year we found ourselves in Spain for the very first time. We spent the bulk of our time in Barcelona and it took both of us precisely half a day to ask “why have we never been here before?!”. What a truly beautiful place ❤️ The city is gorgeous, the architecture superb, the food is divine and the people are beyond friendly. We only did a couple of day trips out of Barcelona that took us to Montserrat, Figueres, Cadaqués and Port Lligat but they were all just as beautiful.
I am an Italofile from way back, but since arriving home from our trip I now have a newfound appreciation for the Spanish culture too. Admittedly we didn’t see much of it only visiting a few places but it certainly piqued my interest.
Given the time of year, I’ve been looking into the kinds of things our Spanish friends serve at Christmas and came across Turrón. It is one of their traditional desserts and I’m told by Spanish friends that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. There’s even a Turrón museum! Turrón (basically nougat) dates back to the 15th century, a time when the Moors occupied Spain. It was first created in the Southern town of Jijona, which is the likely result of the local bees also producing some wonderfully sweet honey after collecting pollen from wild flowers on the mountains surrounding the town.
There are two classic styles of Turrón that have been made the same way, using the same recipes for centuries. There is a soft variety, which is the version Jijona is famous for, and a hard, crunchy variety from Alicante (a port city a little further South from Jijona also famous for Turrón). Both varieties contain quite a lot of honey along with stacks of sugar and much as I loved the idea of making them, I knew I’d never eat either of them. However, a bit more digging lead me to modern versions, including many, MANY varieties of Turrón de Chocolate. Of the numerous recipes I read, none of the ingredients suited me perfectly so I created my own…. I’m sure the lovely Spanish folk won’t mind 😉 Just remember though, not all chocolate is created equal so be sure to read your ingredients when choosing one for this recipe as many contain less than favourable ingredients!
So there we go. I love knowing the history of a food, or even an ingredient, don’t you? The process of making a recipe becomes just that little bit more magical for me when I do. I hope you enjoy this and have a wonderful Christmas! ❤️
Turrón de Chocolate
- 250g organic, fairtrade milk chocolate
- 250g organic fairtrade dark chocolate
- 60g honey or rice malt syrup
- 80g cocoa butter, chopped into chunks
- 100g chopped, activated almonds (roasted almonds are also fine)
- Line a rectangular dish with baking paper. Mine was 26cm x 16cm, but I’ve also made it in a 20cm x 20cm square dish and found it was definitely a little thinner but still fine. If you don’t have either of those exact sizes and use something else just make sure the chocolate doesn’t spread out too thinly or you’ll make a chocolate bark! You could also use silicone moulds if you’d like them in shapes
- Slowly melt all the chocolate and cacao butter in a saucepan over a very low heat and stir frequently so it doesn’t stick or clump. Don’t rush this or you’ll burn the chocolate
- Once it is all melted and silky smooth, remove chocolate mixture from the heat and stir in the honey or rice malt syrup, followed by the nuts and stir well to combine
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish or moulds, then place in the freezer for one hour or until set. The smaller moulds will only take about 30 minutes
- If you have set the mixture whole, remove from the freezer and let it sit on the bench for 5ish minutes before slicing into small squares
- Store in the fridge and enjoy!
- For a dairy free version just use 500g of dark chocolate (at least 70%) but increase the sweetener to 100g or to your taste, as it will be slightly more bitter without the milk chocolate
- For the nut intolerant, you will need to make a very modern version of Turrón by swapping out the nuts for a mix of seeds, goji berries, or anything at all you’d like mixed into your chocolate 🙂
- For a low fodmap version, use activated or roasted macadamias and the rice malt syrup. You need to be cautious with your chocolate intake too so only small amounts!
- For the histamine intolerant – chocolate is definitely not on the histamine friendly list but if you’re giving yourself a little treat, reduce the histamine levels by changing the almonds to activated or roasted macadamias and again only have very small amounts… like small ice cubish size). I’m OK if I stick to one of these but you be the judge of that for you.