Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee – Butter and sugar are cooked to make a yummy toffee and then mixed with chopped hazelnuts and topped with a layer of chocolate and more hazelnuts
The end of Thanksgiving may signal the beginning of the Christmas season to most of America, but for me, it means the beginning of baking season. Most notably, cookies and candies are made in large amounts this time of year. So it’s only fitting that I start this season off right with a brand new candy recipe.
This new recipe is for toffee, which I’ve never made before but always wanted to. After a few tries, I finally got this recipe perfectly right. It’s buttery and crisp and chocolatey, with a hint of sea salt on top. I wanted this toffee to stand out so instead of almonds or peanuts, I used hazelnuts. There is just something so fancy about hazelnuts that makes them perfect for the holiday season.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at my Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee!
Making this toffee
Making toffee is almost identical to making caramel. To get it firm instead of creamy, no heavy cream is added and the sugar is cooked longer to get it to “firm ball” stage. This means it will set up hard when cooled instead of staying gooey or liquid.
To start, the butter is melted in a large sauce pan. Then, the sugar, water, salt, and corn syrup are added and mixed together with the butter. The heat is set to medium and the mixture is stirred until the sugar is dissolved. At that point, the thermometer is placed on the side of the sauce pan to monitor the temperature of the sugar mixture.
Now comes the hard part – don’t mix the caramel! Just let it bubble and do it’s thing. If you see hot spots forming in the caramel, you can swirl the caramel to get it all mixed together. But don’t use any tools to mix because it will get caramel on the sides of the sauce pan and could lead to grainy toffee.
Once the mixture gets caramel colored, add in some of your chopped hazelnuts. This will help the toffee develop a deeper hazelnut flavor before it’s done cooking. Once it reaches 290 degrees, remove from heat and spread evenly over a silicone baking mat in a 11×17 sheet pan.
Finishing the toffee
Once the toffee has cooled for a few minutes and set slightly, add melted chocolate over the top and spread with an offset spatula until all the toffee is covered. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped hazelnuts and some flaky sea salt. Let set completely before cutting into uneven pieces.
Tips & Tricks
- A good, reliable candy thermometer is a must when making toffee. On my first attempt, I used my digital thermometer but it just didn’t do the job. It kept touching the bottom of the pan and showing a much higher temp than it was. As a result, I removed the toffee before it was caramel color and it looked pale yellow. Still yummy, but not appetizing in appearance. So I bought this one and was soooo happy with it. It doesn’t let the thermometer touch the bottom and it clips perfectly on any sized pot.
- Another tool I found so useful was a silicone baking mat. Nothing sticks to it – not even hot toffee. If you don’t have a silicone mat, just use parchment paper. Do not grease it! Otherwise, you’ll get greasy toffee.
- Hazelnuts were hard for me to find in stores so I eventually bought them on Amazon. If you’re having the same trouble, you can buy online or just use almonds instead. But I’m telling you, that hazelnut flavor is worth searching all stores for!
- Make sure the chocolate is completely set and firm before cutting the toffee. This will ensure the chocolate stays on the toffee when you cut it. My chocolate took a couple hours to set completely at room temperature so it will require some patience! Resist the urge to cool in the fridge or freezer because it will sauce the chocolate to sweat once it comes to room temperature again.
Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee
- 1 cup unsalted butter sliced
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole hazelnuts chopped, divided
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Line a 11×17 pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add butter to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, add sugar, water, salt, and corn syrup. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Then, leave alone so it can boil. Insert candy thermometer and monitor temperature. Don't let thermometer touch the bottom of the pan. Once temperature reaches 250 degrees, add 2/3 of the chopped hazelnuts. Stir together until smooth.
- Continue to cook mixture until temperature reached 290 degrees MAX. The color should be a luscious caramel color. Remove thermometer and pour over prepared pan with silicone mat. Spread into an even layer across the pan. Let site for 5 minutes.
- Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl in 30-second increments. Once melted, pour over the toffee sheet on the pan and smooth with an offset spatula into an even layer of chocolate. Cover with remaining chopped hazelnuts and sprinkles of flaky sea salt. Let sit until chocolate sets, about 2 hours.
- Cut sheet of toffee diagonally into strips and then diagonally again to cut into pieces. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.