Sukkariyya (Almond Brittle)

Author: Justin
Serves about 4
1 - 2 Tbl slivered almonds 1 Tbl rosewater
3/8 cup sugar

Using a small, preferably teflon pan, fry the almonds over a medium fire until they are medium brown; shake them constantly so that they do not burn.  When brown, remove them from the heat into a mortar, and crush them lightly until you have medium-sized pieces.  (Don't grind it to dust, just down to about 1/4 - 1/8 sliver size.)  Set aside.

Now it is very useful to have a small teflon pan.  Put in the rosewater and almonds, and heat over high heat, stirring constantly.  The sugar will dissolve, it will boil, and then it will start to froth.  Toss in the almonds and stir like mad to mix them in well.  Continue stirring until it is fully frothy, but stop before the froth settles down into a thick goo.  Take off the heat, and immediately pour onto a heavily buttered marble board.  Immediately separate from the board with a sharp metal spatula, then set down again.  Sprinkle with a little sugar, then let cool.  It will quickly harden into a brittle flat disk, about eight inches across.

Notes and Variations

This dish is tricky, but wonderful.  It requires some practice; be prepared to ruin several batches before you get it right.  The timing of boiling the sugar mixture is the hard part.  If you don't cook it long enough, the sugar won't fully cook, and you will wind up with an opaque candy with sugar crystals still obvious in it.  If you cook it even ten seconds too long, you'll wind up with caramel.  If you get it right, though, it will have a rich moderately dark-brown color, and will be somewhat translucent and very brittle.  This is delightful and tasty, and worth the effort.  Once you practice a bit, it's easy to get into a rhythm; I usually screw up two or three batches, then turn out ten good ones in succession.

Be careful about pouring it out.  The sugar mixture will be extremely hot, and extremely sticky, which is why the buttered stone is essential.  Anything more porous than buttered marble, and it will stick hard.  Even on marble, you will usually need to work to get it off.


From the 13th century Andalusian Manuscrito Anonimo.  Reconstructed by Justin from the English translation by Charles Perry et al.  Original is on page A-23 of Cariadoc's Cookbook Collection, Volume II, Fifth Edition (1992), titled "Sukkariyya, a Sugar Dish from the Dictation of Abu 'Ali al-Bagdadi".