In this new section of the blog, I intend to share some baking techniques which are useful to know in order to realize one’s own ideas and projects in the kitchen. They are all suitable for home baking and require only a modest and mostly inexpensive set of equipment. From getting the consistency of your butter right, making your own baking ingredients to rolling a dough – they all seem simple enough tasks, but it really comes down to the little details which end up making a great difference to your cakes, biscuits, tarts and creams.
For starters, this is an instruction for caramelized nuts. Again, seemingly simple, the realization of this recipe requires a bit of patience and a medium exertion of your stirring muscles. Caramelized nuts are great for decoration but may also be used in fillings. I use hazelnuts according to this recipe, but it is the same for other types of nuts.
O, and one more important thing: Never forget to make just about as many nuts that you will not miss the one half that ends up in the mouths and stomachs of your family members before you get a chance to save the rest for the intended use.
- Sugar thermometer
- Non-stick frying pan
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper
- 125 grams of hazelnuts (or other type of nuts)
- 100 grams of icing sugar
- 40 ml of water
- 10 grams of butter
- 1 pinch of fleur de sel
- Roast the nuts in a non-stick frying pan without the addition of oil over medium heat until you can smell a nutty aroma, then remove from the heat. Be careful not to over-roast, this will turn the nuts bitter or even burn them.
- Use a very clean saucepan (e.g. scrub with salt before use) for the caramelization.
- Place the sugar in the saucepan. Make sure it does not stick to the sides.
- Gently pour the water over the sugar. Wait until all of the sugar is fully soaked.
- Then warm up over medium heat.
- On medium heat, heat up to 118 degrees Celsius. Then take off the heat.
- Immediately add the nuts and stir with a spatula until fully coated with the syrup. Keep stirring until the coating turns white (this will take 5 to 10 minutes).
- Place on the heat (medium heat) again.
- Permanently stir until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. The caramel should not turn more than lightly brown. It is important to keep stirring to both prevent the caramel from turning too dark and the hazelnuts from turning bitter.
- Once fully caramelized, take off the heat, add the butter and the salt. Stir until well incorporated.
- Then immediately spread on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let cool down. If you wait too long with this step, the nuts will clump together, so be fast!
- Let cool down completely before further use. (Careful, very hot in the beginning!)