Guirlache... Spanish sweet treat...

Mallorca (or Majorca) is famous for many things, one of them being almonds. Almonds are a purely Mediterranean product. They are an important fruit for the Balearic economy and for the islands' agriculture and are mainly used for making sweets. The main almond crops are in Ibiza and Majorca. During my recent visit to Majorca almonds were something I enjoyed a lot! Bought a lot of different kinds of sweets to bring back home but... They were finished (eaten!) pretty quick ;) So to keep enjoying them and to keep those memories of that beautiful Spanish island alive... why not just make some of the sweets at home?! Which turned out to be pretty easy actually... Again, sweets didn't last long... ;)

"Guirlache is made of almonds and solidified caramel and all sort of dried fruit and nuts are added. It's origins goes back to the medieval Arabs, as they cooked it with whole or cut up almonds and sugar. Nowadays there are people who substitute the almonds for other nuts and use honey instead of sugar." - by

How to make it...

- 115 g almonds, half blanched and half un-blanched
- 115 g hazelnuts, half blanched and half un-blanched
- 1 teaspoon almond oil or flavourless oil
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 150 C. Scatter the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 30 minutes, shaking the sheet occasionally. The nuts should smell pleasant and have turned brown and be very dry.
Coarsely chop the toasted nuts. Cover another baking tray with foil and grease it generously with the oil. Put the sugar in a pile in a small pan and pour the lemon juice round it. Cook over a high heat, shaking the pan, until the sugar turns a coffee colour (as it cooks, the pile of sugar will melt and collapse into caramel). Immediately tip in the nuts and stir once, then pour the mixture on to the foil and spread out into a thin, even layer. Leave the mixture to harden. Once set, break up the caramel into pieces and store in an airtight tin (that IS a must, to store it in a tin/box, trust me).