The hazelnuts used in the process are lightly roasted to remove the skins. Hazelnuts can be purchased without skins or you can do it yourself.
This technique finishes the roasting process started when the skins were removed. The hazelnuts are coated in sugar before the roasting process continues, which reduces the chance of flavor loss. When nuts are fully roasted in the oven, by contrast, the nuts are openly exposed, and the heat and air blowing in the oven makes them more vulnerable to losing their distinguished flavor.
Use a copper pan to caramelize the hazelnuts, if possible, because nuts roast more easily in copper as the whole pan stays hot.
It is very important that the hazelnuts be warm when added to the sugar. Cold nuts would shock the sugar and slow down the caramelizing process.
|Hazelnuts, whole, skinned|
|Sugar, for the caramel|
|Sugar, for coating|
1 Place the hazelnuts in a 320&F/160.0&C oven to warm them.
2 Combine the sugar for the caramel and the water and bring to a boil to slowly dissolve the sugar. Once the syrup reaches 239&F/115.0&C, remove the pan from the heat.
3 Add the warm nuts and stir. It is important to stir constantly, as this will crystallize the sugar. Once the mass is sandy (crystallized) and all the nuts are covered with the white sugar, return the pan to low heat.
4 Continue to stir constantly. The sugar will slowly begin to melt and will caramelize around the nuts and roast them. When the sugar has melted and appears golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and add the cocoa butter to help separate the mass.
5 Mix the cocoa butter into the nuts, then add the coating sugar and toss to coat.
6 Empty the nuts onto a lightly oiled sheet pan or marble, or use a sheet pan covered with a Silpat, and immediately separate by hand.
7 Once the nuts have cooled, place in a sieve and shake gently to remove any excess sugar.
8 Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Note: Normally when cooking sugar in a larger quantity, you would remove any impurities using a sieve. The small amount of sugar in this recipe, however, makes it difficult to do this.
© 2011 All rights reserved. Published by Wiley.