Hazelnut Toffee, ermmm, Squares?

HazelnutToffeeContainerbfLOWhile I will admit that this geometrically challenged little bit o’ goodness isn’t exactly perfectly formed – the combination of freshly roasted hazelnuts, semi-sweet Belgian chocolate, and simple home made toffee (in the microwave, no less!) – more than makes up for lack of crisp edges with OH! so much flavor.

01HazelnutsPanbfLOI got this recipe from my refrigerator – well, actually, from GE, the makers of my refrigerator and other kitchen appliances (for the moment) – and I was intrigued by how simple it was. I made a roasted hazelnut brittle last year for the holidays that, even tho’ I was very careful about checking the candy thermometer, ended up a bit TOO dark and bitter for most folks – tho’ I thought it went rather well with a tall Americano. This recipe called for butter, brown sugar and a bit of water cooked in the ‘wave and spread over chopped nuts in a 03HazelnutsSKinnedbfLObuttered pan. Top with chocolate chips (or, since I have a couple of bags from the European Imports Sale, Belgian chocolate curls). Cover and let the chocolate melt for about five minutes, uncover and spread the chocolate, then chill to set. Easy, no? Let’s get started!

•1 cup chopped nuts
•1 cup brown sugar, packed
•1/3 cup butter
•3 tbsp water
01ButterBrownSugarWavebfLO 02ToffeeNutsChocolatebfLO 03ToffeeChocolateMeltedbfLO •3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

You can use whichever nuts you like. I happen to like hazelnuts, and also happened to have a bag of raw hazelnuts in my pantry; so I started out by roasting them – an easy step: preheat the oven to 375º and spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for around 10 minutes – just until the nuts begin to turn golden brown. Let cool and turn out into a colander. Rub handfuls of the roasted nuts in your cupped hands to remove the papery brown skin (don’t worry about getting all of it off) – you’ll end up with something like this:

I then coarsely chopped the whole batch, pulled out 1 cup for the recipe, and stashed the remainder in the fridge for other uses – more than likely more toffee.

Sprinkle the 1 cup chopped nuts over the bottom of a well buttered 8 inch square Pyrex baking pan.

Combine the 1 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup butter and 3 tbsp water in a tall microwave safe dish – as you can see, I used an 8-cup measure – and was glad I did – this mixture will bubble up like crazy as you’re ‘waving it. ‘Wave on high for five to six minutes until it thickens.

Stir well and quickly spread over the nuts. Sprinkle the 3/4 cup chocolate pieces over all, cover tightly and let sit for five minutes or so to melt the chocolate.

Spread the melted chocolate across the nut and toffee mixture (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup of chocolate, and as you can see, it came up just a bit short – better to err on the side of MORE chocolate, if you ask me).

Cover and refrigerate until set.

Cut up into vaguely squar-ish shapes, share and enjoy.

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