Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Caramelised hazelnut chocolate clusters

Makes 24

These petits fours are simply clumps of hazelnuts set in a buttery caramel and then coated in melted dark chocolate. If the notion takes you, milk or white chocolate can easily be substituted, and the nuts swapped for some dried fruit. Such a simple recipe for the kids to get involved in the kitchen.

200g caster sugar
2 tblsp water
50g butter
100g whole hazelnuts
200g dark chocolate (55–60 per cent cocoa solids)

Line a baking sheet with a silicone cooking liner or baking parchment. Melt the sugar with the water in a heavy-based saucepan over a very gentle heat. Once all the sugar grains have dissolved, stir in the melted butter. Increase the heat and boil to a mid-golden colour. Take off the heat.

Drop in a cluster of three nuts, scoop out at once with a metal spoon and place on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining nuts to make about 24 clusters. Cool until set and firm.
Melt the chocolate. Dunk each nut cluster into the chocolate to coat and place on baking parchment to set. Store in an airtight tin for up to three days.