- 1 ounce shelled, roasted, and salted pistachios
- 1 ounce walnut halves
- 1 ounce whole hazelnuts
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup plus 1 cup water
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon citric acid
- 1½ teaspoons orange extract (or other flavor) ***
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon extract (or other flavor) ***
- A few drops of food coloring, if desired
- Various coatings, listed below
*** FOUR DAYS BEFORE SERVING ***
Coat a 9″ by 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine the sugar and ½ cup water in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Then keep the liquid at a STEADY, MODERATE BOIL on medium/low heat. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the inside of the pot occasionally to prevent the sugar from crystallizing on the sides.
This will take awhile, perhaps 20-40 minutes, depending on various circumstances, but DO NOT IGNORE IT. DO NOT MULTI-TASK, EXCEPT TO DO THIS:
Set up a hand mixer with a whisk attachment; set aside. Place the 1 cup water, cornstarch, citric acid, extracts, and food coloring into a 3-quart saucepan. Combine all with a medium-sized whisk, then place on the stove without turning on the heat. When the sugar mixture reaches the 260° mark, turn heat to the lowest setting and remove the thermometer.
IMMEDIATELY: Turn heat on the cornstarch mixture to high. Cook on high, whisking constantly until fully mixed and starting to boil and thicken. It will become VERY thick.
IMMEDIATELY: Lower the heat a couple notches. Switch to the hand mixer and mix on low speed until the mixture becomes creamy. This might become a bit messy, so try to keep the mixing under control.
IMMEDIATELY: Slowly pour the hot syrup into the cornstarch mixture while mixing on low speed until fully integrated over medium heat. Turn off heat and mix in the nuts with the hand mixer on low speed. Pour into the prepared pan. Place on a rack until completely cool. Cover lightly with a lightweight towel or cloth napkin and let stand overnight.
*** THREE DAYS BEFORE SERVING ***
Line a medium baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the pan. Place the candy pieces on the pan, ¼” apart, uncovered, so they can dry. Cover with the same cloth only overnight.
*** TWO DAYS BEFORE SERVING ***
Turn all the pieces over and let stand, uncovered, all day. Cover lightly overnight.
*** DAY OF SERVING ***
Choose your coating from the Various Coatings listed below and dip each candy.
Various Coatings: Choose one, or use half of two variations.
- ½ cup powdered sugar sifted with ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ cup lightly toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup shredded, dehydrated coconut (this is what I have used in the finished photo above)
- 8 ounces melted semisweet chocolate (Cool a bit, then dip each candy and place on the same parchment sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, just until the chocolate sets.)
Dip each candy into your desired coating, covering on all sides. Set on a plate. Turkish Delight needs to breathe and stay dry. Keep finished candies covered loosely with a lightweight cloth napkin or towel at room temperature. Or wrap loosely in lightweight paper and place in a small box that is tied with a silk ribbon (the color is up to you). Do not keep the candy in airtight containers, because the sugar content will start to melt and you’ll end up with wet candy. Lasts about a month or so. Makes 45 pieces.
*** You may experiment with other flavors; rose water, vanilla, almond, and mint are traditional. You may also try using a no-sugar-added fruit juice for the 1 cup water; apple is a nice alternative.
PS: I really mean it about following the directions precisely. Don’t let your sugar mixture sit around, or you will end up with what I like to think of as “meth” sugar, only gauging this by my viewing of Breaking Bad. This sugar could not be saved. Fortunately, most of this sugar stuff is easy to clean up with hot water.