A quick and easy way to transform hazelnuts into a snack, gift, or garnish.
There is one thing I’d like to know that that is — why on earth aren’t we eating more hazelnuts? You see almonds and walnuts and pecans everywhere but rarely a hazelnut, and that’s just silly. Hazelnuts are delicious. Mild but still nutty and earthy, they deserve to be featured so much more often than they are and one perfect opportunity is to candy them. Candied Hazelnuts bring out their best qualities — with a quick toasting to enhance their flavor and a sugared coating to balance their earthiness, these are as easy to make as they are to snack on. (And they make for a great gift, too!)
The first thing you’re going to want to do is toast those hazelnuts. This is for two reasons — one, it helps enhance the flavor (this is true for any nut) and two, it helps them shed their skins, which is your next step. Just place your nuts on a baking sheet and let them bake for about fifteen minutes at 350°F.
Once they’re done, the skins should rub right off. The easiest way to do this is to just rub them in a damp kitchen towel, but use a dark one or one you don’t care about staining. (And work in batches — it’s much easier.)
Once they’re skinned (or at least mostly skinned), get them into a saucepan with equal parts white and brown sugar and a tablespoon of water.
And then cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. You want to keep stirring here to keep any bits from burning, but do so in a gentle folding motion to keep from getting any sugar on the sides of the pan. If you do end up with some sugar on the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to dissolve it — don’t stir it back into the mixture as it will cause the rest of the sugar to seize up. And we don’t want that.
At this point, add your butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and give it a stir.
Then, attach a candy thermometer and let things cook until you hit 290°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, 290°F is the soft-crack stage, and when you reach it the bubbles on top of the mixture will become smaller, thicker, and closer together. To test if you’ve reached this stage, you can drop a bit of the syrup into cold water — it should solidify into threads that are still flexible when you remove them from the water, and not brittle.
Stir in some vanilla and then spread those nuts out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Or foil. Or wax paper, even.) Breaking them apart with a fork helps you prevent having one big blob of nuts.
Let them cool long enough to harden and then you’re ready to get to snacking. Or gifting. Maybe just make enough that you can do both!
5m prep time
40m cook time
- 1 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place hazelnuts in a separate baking sheet. Bake until skins are peeling off, 15-18 minutes.
- Working in batches, rub roasted hazelnuts between a damp kitchen towel to remove skins. (Skins may stain so use a dark towel or one you don't mind staining.) Rinse nuts under water to remove any flakes.
- Add hazelnuts, brown, and white sugar to a saucepan along with the 1 tablespoon water. Set over medium-high heat and stir in a folding motion, taking care not to get sugar on the sides of the pan above the nuts. If sugar crystallizes on the sides of the pan, use a wet pastry brush to remove, but do not scrape sugar in or remaining mixture will seize up.
- Add butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook until you reach 290°F. Immediately remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and spread nuts out on prepared baking sheet.
- Use two forks to separate the nuts, then let cool and harden. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch.