Italian Nut Gems
Italian Nut Gems Image

Italian Nut Gems

These chewy, nutty confections are reminiscent of an Italian classic fruit-nut cake called "panforte", which originated in Siena, Italy.

45 min
1 hr 15 min


1 1/2 cups slivered almonds

2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

10 (4 3/4x2 1/2-inch) graham cracker squares, broken into pieces

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice  

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

6 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter

2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy, if desired

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup powdered sugar


 *Substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cloves.

How to make

  1. STEP 1

    Heat oven to 350°F. Place almonds and hazelnuts into ungreased jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with sides. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool 15 minutes.

  2. STEP 2

    Place almonds and hazelnuts into ungreased baking pan or baking sheet with sides. Bake, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool 15 minutes.

  3. STEP 3

    Place toasted nuts into food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Add graham cracker pieces and pumpkin pie spice. Cover; pulse several times, until mixture is fine and crumbly with just a few small pieces of nuts remaining. Pour into bowl.

  4. STEP 4

    Combine sugar, honey and butter in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat 6-7 minutes or until mixture just comes to a boil. Stir in bourbon, if desired. Pour over nut mixture in bowl; stir in apricots and cranberries until well mixed. Press mixture down into bowl; let stand 10 minutes.

  5. STEP 5

    Place powdered sugar in another bowl. With dampened fingers, shape nut mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar until well coated.

  6. STEP 6

    Place nut gems into candy paper cups, if desired. Store in container with tight-fitting lid.

Tip #1

The nut mixture is crumbly at first. Pressing it into the bowl to compress the ingredients makes it easier to form into balls.


4Fat (mg)
5Cholesterol (mg)
15Sodium (mg)
7Carbohydrates (g)
1Dietary Fiber
1Protein (g)


Explore reviews from
our online community

  December 12, 2009

Nice flavor combination and good texture. Easy to make. Would definitely make these again.

— says Elaine
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