Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hazelnut Praline

This. Stuff.  Smells.  AMAZEBALLS.  If you like hazelnuts (and who doesn't?) this is the best way I have ever experienced of getting a proper fragrant waft of them right in your face, covered in sugar.
Use a decent-sized saucepan, to make the change in the colour of the sugar easier to detect.  I burnt one batch because I turned my back on it to grease my baking tray, in the erroneous belief that it would take ages.  This is reflected in the instructions.  Watch your sugar very carefully.

Hazelnut Praline
You Will Need: Baking tray, greaseproof paper, scales, saucepan, wooden spoon, spoon (food processor)

Dissolved sugar, just beginning to colour
butter smudge
200g hazelnuts
200g sugar
100ml water

1) Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, and grease the paper with butter.
Getting towards to that golden colour that you want
2) Heat 100g of the sugar and 50ml water in the saucepan.  Let the sugar dissolve, and then let it cook on a medium-high heat without stirring it at all for a while until a golden colour.  DO NOT SUCCUMB to the stirring monster.  If the sugar gets too dark it is burnt; throw it away and start again (use boiling water from a kettle to clean sugary pans).
3) When the sugar is golden, pour in the hazelnuts, and coat them in the sugar as well as possible.  Pour the mixture out onto the baking tray, and spread it out into a single layer using the back of a metal spoon.  Leave to cool.
4) Meanwhile, clean the pan; make another batch of caramel with the remaining sugar and water, and pour over the hazelnuts to fill in the gaps.  Leave to cool.
5) When cool, peel the brittle off the greaseproof paper.  You now have different things you can do with it:

  • Coat or drizzle with chocolate and break into pieces for a decadent sweetie/candy present.
  • Break into pieces to use as cake decoration.  If making my pear-and-chocolate birthday cake, break off three large pieces for this purpose.
  • Smash into small pieces and blend in the food processor until the texture of sand.  This can then be added to other ingredients to make homemade Nutella OR, if making my birthday cake, saved to mix with cream to make a pipe-able hazelnut filling.


Birthday ingredients: left, decorative chunks; right, praline powder

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