Caramel Hazelnuts

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Caramel covered hazelnuts make a beautiful garnish atop desserts. Plus, they are so delicious when eaten. We incorporate all of our candymaking tips here, necessary for success with this recipe. 

Recipe used with the:

Meyer Lemon Semifreddo, Hazelnut Crunch & Blueberry Compote Recipe


For best results, I like to start with a fresh bag of sugar when making candy recipes to make sure nothing has gotten into it, or the sugar crystals have not clumped together previously! Use a brand name CANE sugar because I have found that the crystals tend to be more uniform throughout, necessary when making these types of recipes.

24 whole and blanched hazelnuts

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon corn syrup

1. Gently push the sharp end of a wooden skewer into the SIDE of a blanched hazelnut. Prepare as many nuts as you need, then set them aside.

Make the Caramel:
1. Have a large boil of ice and water ready. Set aside.
Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with a silpat nonstick mat. Set aside.
Boil water in a pot the caramel pot can fit on top of so you can rewarm the caramel when it cools too much. Cover and set aside.

2. Place the sugar and water into a 2-quart heavy bottomed saucepan.
SARAH SAYS: The pan must be spotlessly clean and dry, otherwise the sugar can crystallize.
Place over a medium heat.

3. Stir constantly till the sugar is totally dissolved and the liquid is ready to come to boil.
Stir in the corn syrup.

4. STOP stirring, and raise the heat to high.
Wash down the sides of the pot with tap water and a clean brush. Dip the brush in water every time you use it.

5. Continue to let the sugar solution boil. DO NOT STIR or disturb the pot in any way, otherwise the sugar solution can crystallize. 

Boil until the sugar solution takes on an amber color. This takes about 10-15 minutes.

6. When it reaches the right color, remove pot from the heat and plunge the bottom of the pot into ice water - hold for about 5 seconds. 

This stops the cooking process!

7. IMMEDIATELY remove the pot from the ice bath and set on a heatproof surface. 

Stir caramel with a heatproof-handled spoon. Do NOT use a wooden spoon.
The caramel will begin to thicken as it cools.

Now be patient, you must allow the sugar to cool slightly and begin to thicken, before you can begin making the spirals.
This takes about 5-10 minutes. Slowly stir caramel, to assure the sugar cools evenly.

8. When caramel begins to get thick, pull up your spoon and observe the way the caramel falls from it.
When it begins to fall in a thick slow ribbon, it is ready to use.
Have a bowl of ice and water nearby in case you burn yourself with hot caramel; plunge any burned area into the cold water to stop the burning.

Make the caramel dipped hazelnuts:
1. When the sugar is ready, dip one nut at a time into the hot caramel and swirl it around, making sure it is thickly covered with caramel. Do not dip the stick into the caramel too deeply, you just want to make sure the nut is completely covered.

2. Slowly lift the nut out of the caramel and let the excess drip off, into the pan. Make sure that you orient the nut so that the caramel tail comes off the TOP of the nut(the pointy end of the nut).

3. When the dripping slows down, and the caramel tail starts to set, put the skewer on your counter, letting the caramel tail hang over the edge. The caramel should not drip on the floor below; it should start to harden.
Use a cutting board, or the handle of a heavy kitchen tool, to keep the skewers in place until the caramel is completely hardened..

4. When the caramel is completely hardened, gently twist the skewer and remove it from the nut, taking care not to break its caramel tail.

5. Set the candied nuts aside, on a silpat mat, not touching each other, until you are ready to plate your dessert.

NOTE: When plating, make sure the scarred side of the nut (where the skewer was) faces the back of the dessert.

The caramel hazelnuts can be kept in a cool, dark place until needed, for about an hour.
Do not refrigerate or subject to humidity, otherwise the caramel will become sticky and may dissolve.

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