Monday, 5 January 2015

Chocolate caramel walnuts

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. I hope you all had lovely Christmas and New Year celebrations with your loved ones. We have been busy baking and preparing meals, which left us with no time to prepare a post for you. But we have some ideas already for the new year that we want to share with you. 

Firstly I'd like to show you a recipe for an excellent snack. I found it in one of my favourite magazines called KINFOLK. Amazing lifestyle magazine, do check it out if you can get hold of it or visit their website
This appealed to me instantly as I am a big fan of walnuts. Paired with caramel and chocolate it seemed like the perfect combination. And it did work. My sister enjoyed this snack very much as she loves dark chocolate!

Make this snack ahead if you are planning a road trip, or just a walk through the country side. It will give you much needed energy without too much guilt. And it is fun to make, just watch out and don't burn yourself on the caramel. 

My walnuts came from Slovakia. Walnuts trees grow everywhere, by the road, in peoples gardens, everyone know somebody who has a walnut tree. There is rarely a shortage. They are best in the autumn, we pick them fresh and shell them, then store for the winter. Much of the Christmas baking consists of walnuts. I was very pleased when my mum send me some, because they can get pricey in the UK. 
If you're looking to buy yours, do it now, buy the whole nuts in their shells that were packed for christmas as they will be much cheaper now and shell them yourself. If you don't have a nutcracker just use a small hammer. 

This is how to make them:

You will need:

300g walnuts
200g caster sugar
15ml water
300g dark cooking chocolate
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Prepare all the ingredients and read the recipe thoroughly before you start as you will need to work fast. 
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake them in the preheated oven for 12-15 mins, stirring occasionally until golden and fragrant. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Lay a piece of silicon sheet or baking parchment on work surface.
Place the water and the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat, swirling occasionally until it turns pale golden and syrupy. Turn of the heat and add the walnuts. Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until all the walnuts have been coated in the caramel. Just watch out as it will be very hot. Scrape the walnuts on the prepared baking paper and let them cool. If they stick together you can break them up once they cooled. 
Now chop up the dark chocolate and place in a medium clean bowl. Set it over a pan of barely simmering water and melt it slowly. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir it occasionally and gently until completely melted. Remove the bowl from the bainmarie and add the candied walnuts, stirring until they are lightly coated. Spread them out on another parchment paper and let them cool in a cold spot. Once set,break the nuts apart and place in a large jar. Add the spoon of cocoa powder, preferably raw and toss to coat. 

You can pack your walnuts in cute individual paper bags and give as gifts.

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