Chocolate hazelnut toffee

Happy New Year!  It's that time again when I slowly float back down from cloud nine, and settle back into our everyday post-holiday life.  And believe me, I'm landing on some very freezing cold ground!  I sure hope you had a wonderfully relaxing and happy holiday!  We enjoyed every moment of it.  My family and I so look forward to the quiet time of that last week or so of the year and even with all the high expectations, it never seems to disappoint.  
It made me realize how wonderful the gift of time really is.  Not having to rush and having plenty of time to spend with each other, cozy and snug (which we were in general except for a 16-hour power outage), lingering over meals and savoring the calm for about 10 days straight is really as good as it gets for me.  I think my husband and I get recharged and live off of the annual holiday hiatus for months after.

Now, while the holiday baking frenzy has come and gone (and it was glorious while it lasted!), I wanted to share the last treat I made before the New Year.  I always like the idea of making toffee and candies because it's not only a lovely little nibble to add to all the Christmas cookies, it's great for gift-giving.  Pop some into a bag, jar, or tin, and you've got a lovely little hostess gift.  
This time, I made hazelnut toffee, with big chunks of whole roasted hazelnuts, topped with a coating of dark chocolate.  You can add a sprinkle of sea salt on top to finish but I kept it plain.  I'm always a little nervous when it comes to making toffee but it's so rewarding in the end.  If you use a candy thermometer and cook the mixture to 300 degrees, you'll end up with toffee that's just properly firm and crunchy but infinitely easy to bite into and eat.  

I'm a big fan of this since I love hazelnuts and there is obviously plenty of delicious hazelnut flavor and aroma in this toffee.  And the dark chocolate layer on top is a must-have in my book.  Honestly, a great homemade toffee isn't hard to make and maybe we shouldn't relegate it to the holidays.  I'm sure most people would enjoy a little homemade toffee in their life any time of the year!  Although with Chinese New Year coming up, I can't help but think this toffee would make a great sweet gift for the occasion as well.


You can make toffee without a candy thermometer but it is definitely more reassuring and accurate to use one so have one ready!
In the picture above, you see what's needed for this toffee project.  It's just a few simple ingredients and some time and care to cook the mixture.  Remember, sugar cooked to 300 degrees is extremely hot so you want to use a stable heavy-bottomed pan and whisk the mixture carefully.
As you stir, the mixture might break but it comes back together.  I was a little worried that my toffee was turning too dark - but in my (albeit limited) experience, it's always dark like this (and sometimes it doesn't match the recipe photo I see) and the texture, when eaten, is just right.  I stir in the hazelnuts once the mixture reaches 300 degrees and then careful spread the screaming-hot toffee onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  The recipe calls for using a greased silicon mat but I find parchment paper works just fine and makes for easier cleanup.  
After a minute, sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee.  If you're like me, you worry that the chocolate won't melt, but it will.  Once the chocolate sets, chop it up into random-size pieces.  Your chocolate hazelnut toffee is ready for nibbling and gifting!
This toffee was a sweet way to wrap up the holidays at my house.  
Overall, we just ate up the holidays!  We devoured plenty of homemade treats and meals but also savored lots of seasonal treats we got our hands on.  No one was hungry the past few weeks and frankly, no one's really slowing down either.  It's cold and we need all the goodies!  Here's to a 2018 filled with abundance - of all things good and smile-inducing!

Recipe:

Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee
Adapted from Valerie Bertinelli

- About 20 servings (or a good amount of toffee to eat and gift!) - 

2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (6 oz.) dark chocolate chips

Grease a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper (you can also use a lightly greased silicon mat); set nearby.  

Place butter, sugar, and salt into a medium size saucepan.  Over medium heat, whisk until melted and mixture comes to a boil.  Cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer (remember mixture is very hot so handle with care).  Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet, smoothing it out with an offset spatula.  Let sit for about 1 1/2 minutes, then scatter the chocolate chips over top.  As the chocolate chips melt (give it a minute to sit on top of the hot toffee), spread it with an offset spatula to evenly cover the top.

Freeze the toffee until set, about 30 minutes.  Peel toffee away from the parchment paper.  Cut into pieces using a sharp knife.  You can keep the toffee in an airtight container for at least a week.  




22 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to you too, Monica! These toffee bites look out of this world!

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  2. Happy New Year Monica! So glad you were able to enjoy some quality family time and that is what this time of the year is all about. Roasting the hazelnuts first...Brilliant. Will bookmark this for next holiday season.

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    1. Happy New Year! Toffee recipes like this is a great thing to have in the arsenal.

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  3. Wow this toffee looks great. And it sounds like you had a wonderful holiday. I love these slower days too - holidays seem so rushed now days and yes it is so cold! Hope you get a little warmer weather soon - and then send it down my way. Take care - Happy New Year and have a great week!

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    1. You have a great year and hope it's started out well so far, Tricia. It has finally warmed up and I'm keeping the warm weather for now! ; )

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  4. I love these toffee.. it looks great.. i will try this for sure...

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  5. Happy New Year! These toffees have my name written all over them!

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  6. Hi Monica, we love toffee especially anything with hazelnuts but it has always seemed so complicated to make, you certainly make the whole process sound easy. Glad you had a wonderful holiday, I love everything about the holidays and the beginning of the new year. Take care!

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    1. I totally hear you. The toffee is quick to make but you need to find a good time when you can focus on it. Holidays was great and we really enjoyed it as much as possible. Have a great 2018!

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  7. Same here my friend, I am slowly getting back into the routine after coming back from India. This toffee looks really good and easy. I always have dark chocolate chips in my home.
    A very happy new year to you!

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    1. Hope your trip to India was wonderful! And same here - I always have dark chocolate in bars, chips, chunks, etc. All kinds in this chocoholic household! : ) Happy 2018!

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  8. This looks SO good! What a lovely thing to keep in the kitchen to have a nibble on!

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    1. Tell me about it...it can be dangerous so make sure to plan on sharing. ; )

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  9. It looks amazing! I am rarely eating chocolate, but when I do it is mostly chocolate with whole hazelnuts inside. I think your homemade version is better than any brand I could buy.

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    1. I am a huge fan of chocolates with whole hazelnuts, too!

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  10. We ended up getting quite a bit of snow here last week and I was so glad our power didn't go out (it was SO COLD!!!) haha ANYWAY. I haven't made toffee in ages! I love that you used hazelnut! Happy new year Monica!!

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    1. It was really freezing the night we lost power. Thank goodness we made it! haha. It's finally thawing but rain on the way. Can't complain. : )

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  11. It sounds like you and your family had a delightful holiday together. Your toffee looks so good and I'm sure added to your enjoyment.

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    1. It really was delightful and we squeeze every ounce of calm and enjoyment out of it. : )

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