Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete against the strong flavors in bitter chocolate. The dark chocolate contrasts nicely with this sweet, buttery dessert. This hard candy sits on top of the nut layer giving it a crunchy walnut bottom.
This recipe reminds me of Almond Roca without the almonds. The recipe would also be very nice with almonds instead of walnuts.
1c organic walnuts, finely chopped
3T organic butter
1/2tsp sea salt
1/4c organic butter
1/4c local honey
1/2tsp sea salt
1T organic cream
1T organic vanilla extract
1/4c organic 70% dark chocolate, pieces
In a cast iron frying pan warm the butter and sea salt. Add the finely chopped walnuts and stir for 6-8 minutes while the nuts brown. Line a 8″x8″ glass baking tray with wax paper. (Butter the wax paper if you make a soft, chewy candy to avoid sticking.) Press the nuts down into the tray. Put the tray into the fridge to continue cooling while making the candy topping.
Making toffee is a bit of a science and a bit of an art. Some people use the cooking time or temperature to decide if the toffee is ready. Others use the color of the toffee is tell what level of softness or hardness has been achieved. Another method is to drop a small amount of toffee into a bowl of cold water and test the firmness of the toffee between the thumb and forefinger. I find using the cooking time, the color of the toffee and the water test (when in doubt) works best for me.
In a sauce pan, warm butter, honey and sea salt and bring to a boil. Stir all the time and boil for 3-5 minutes. A longer boiling time will result in a harder candy. Remove the candy from the heat and add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Be careful, the hot mixture will foam up. Put the chocolate pieces into a 1c Pyrex measuring cup. Place the measuring cup into a sauce pan partly filled with water. Gently warm the sauce pan over low heat until the chocolate pieces are just melted.
Remove the tray of nuts from the fridge and spoon the hot candy topping onto the nut base. If the candy is soft it will melt into the nuts. If the candy is hard it will sit on top of the nut layer. Let this layer cool before adding the melted chocolate to the top of the candy. Spoon on the chocolate with a wavy motion to achieve an interesting pattern. Let the candy cool before removing from the tray. Remove the candy from the tray by grabbing onto the sides of the wax paper. Place the candy on a flat surface for cutting or breaking into pieces. Some of the nuts may not stick to the candy. These nuts can be reused to make more candy.
PLEASE NOTE: Adding more cream results in a consistency of caramel. Adding less cream, or none at all, will result in more of a brittle-like texture.
When the toffee has cooled add the chocolate topping. With a teaspoon use a wavy motion to achieve an interesting pattern.
This candy has been cooked for a shorter period of time resulting in a soft, chewy candy that melts into the nut layer. If you are going for a soft chewy candy, butter the wax paper to avoid sticking.