serves: 75 pieces
Panmelati are a delightful and surprising confection. Sweet, chewy, orange-infused, and crusted in nuts, they could be mistaken for fancy candy balls, but they are actually a kind of no-bake cookie, fashioned from simple dough of bread crumbs cooked in honey. A great way to recycle old bread-these are quickly made, fun to roll, and delicious treat with coffee, or a dessert wine.
4 medium oranges, washed and dried
4 cups honey
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
vegetable oil, for rolling the cookies
Baking sheet covered in parchment paper;
With a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, shave off the peel of the oranges in long strips. Scrape away the bitter white pith from the inside of the peel, then dice the strips of zest into small pieces, about 1/4 inch square. You should have about a cup of diced peel.
Pour the honey into the saucepan, set the pan over medium heat, and stir I the cut orange peel. Slowly bring the honey to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until the squares of peel are slightly translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir the bread crumbs and 1 cup of the chopped walnuts into the honey, and return to a simmer. Stirring frequently, simmer the mixture gently for 6 minutes or so, until the bread crumbs have absorbed most of the honey, forming a dough that pulls away from the sides of the pan. Take the pan off the heat.
With a brush or your fingers, spread a thin film of vegetable oil on your clean countertop or other hard work surface. Scrape the dough out of the pan onto the oiled surface and, with the lightly oiled blade of the metal spatula, spread it into a rough round or oblong layer, about 1/2 inch thick.
Pour the remaining cup of chopped walnuts onto a plate or tray. Run a bit of vegetable oil on your fingers and hands (so the dough won't stick), break off a bunch of teaspoon-sized pieces of warm dough-a dozen or so-and rapidly roll them into bite-sized balls, the size of grapes.
While still warm , roll the balls in the nuts so the whole surface gets a light nut coating, and place them on the parchment-lined tray. Working quickly, shape another batch of balls, and coat them with nuts.
When cool, store panmelati in a cookie tin or other aitright container, lined with wax paper. They will keep for about a week.