These chewy, nutty confections are reminiscent of an Italian classic fruit-nut cake called "panforte", which originated in Siena, Italy.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Place powdered sugar in another bowl. With dampened fingers, shape nut mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar until well coated.
Place nut gems into candy paper cups, if desired. Store in container with tight-fitting lid.
The nut mixture is crumbly at first. Pressing it into the bowl to compress the ingredients makes it easier to form into balls.