Recently as I was followng another Twitter rabbit-hole, I read a comment on a post that said basically that “salted carmel-chocolate-sweets” were over. Quite frankly, I was slightly appalled by this statement.
When I was a kid in the Pacific Northwest, a special treat was to visit See’s Candies at the Vancouver Mall. My order never changed – chocolate covered peanut clusters. Why would I order such a seeming boring item, when there were myriad choices? The reason was simple – they used salted peanuts and I loved the juxtaposition of sweet and salty. It seemed that no one else was on to this winning combination because every other chocolate peanut cluster I tried used unsalted peanuts. This was over 30 years ago, so my hat is off to See’s Candies for kick-starting my life-long obsession with anything sweet and salty.
In my book salted caramel-chocolate-sweets will never be over. When I found a window of baking opportunity this weekend, I knew exactly what I wanted to make – toffee! And I knew exactly how I wanted it to taste, rich with a dark chocolate layer and topped with toasted hazelnuts and salt. My final result is something I will be making for years to come, regardless of what the food trendmakers have to say about salted chocolate!
This is a such a basic toffee recipe that I don’t actually use a written recipe so I am not sure where to give credit, but the final variation is just the way I like it.
Dark Chocolate Salted Toffee with Toasted Hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts – toasted
- 1 cup butter – use a good quality such as Kerrygold Irish Butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 oz. melted good quality dark chocolate as Scharfen Berger 63% cacao
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. Fleur de sel (good quality sea salt)
1. If the hazelnuts are not already toasted, place on cookie sheet and toast lightly in 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Chop roughly and set aside
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (preferred) or aluminum foil and set aside.
3. Break chocolate up and melt in double boiler or microwave until smooth and glossy. Set aside
4. In sauce pan with heavy bottom, melt butter and then mix in sugar, salt and vanilla. Over medium heat, bring to boil and continue to cook until mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly.
5. Pour mixture on prepared cookie sheet, spreading out to desired thickness with offset spatula.
6. Let mixture cool for about 5 minutes and then spread with melted chocolate, top with toasted nuts and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Use more or less salt to taste. With your hand in plastic bag, gently press nuts and salt into chocolate.
7. Cool completely in refrigerator. Break into pieces and store in tightly sealed container. I recommend keeping refrigerated.