Walnut Chocolate Toffee

walnut chocolate toffee Walnut Chocolate Toffee

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.

Nut Layer
1c organic walnuts, finely chopped
3T organic butter
1/2tsp sea salt

Candy Topping
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.

walnut chocolate toffee 2 Walnut Chocolate Toffee

When the toffee has cooled add the chocolate topping. With a teaspoon use a wavy motion to achieve an interesting pattern.

walnut chocolate toffee 3 Walnut Chocolate Toffee

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.

Walnut Choco Bar

walnut chocolate bar Walnut Choco Bar

Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete against dark chocolate.

This is a sweet and chewy bar with a strong chocolate overtone. Walnuts are one of the few nuts that can compete with the flavor of dark chocolate. Use at least a 70% chocolate for the best results.

2c organic walnuts
1/4c organic sunflower seeds
3T organic butter
3T local honey
1 pastured whole egg
pinch sea salt
1tsp lemon peel, freshly grate
1/4c 70% organic dark chocolate pieces
In a food processor, lightly chop the walnuts and sunflower seeds. Mix in the butter, honey, egg, lemon peel and sea salt. When everything is combined add the dark chocolate pieces. Spread and press down the dough onto a buttered, 8″x8″ glass baking tray. Bake at 325F for 20 minutes. Cut the bars into 16 or 32 pieces. Cool the bars in the fridge before serving.

Cauliflower Side Dish

curry cauliflower rice Cauliflower Side Dish

It’s easy to dress up this cauliflower dish with some fresh grated turmeric and peas making it a great base for curry.

This side dish is sometimes called cauliflower rice or cauliflower couscous. I have no idea where this recipe originates. It popped up in the Paleo Community as a substitute for rice or couscous. It’s great for people that cannot tolerate rice or grains or just want to increase their vegetable intake.

1 cauliflower head, finely chopped
1tsp sea salt
1tsp peppercorn, freshly ground
1/3c extra virgin olive oil or raw sesame oil
Cut the cauliflower into pieces. In a food processor, finely chop the cauliflower into rice sized pieces. Doing small loads makes the chopping go easier. Spread the finely chopped cauliflower onto a glass baking tray. Stir in the spices and oil. Mix well. The olive oil is better for western dishes and the sesame oil is better for eastern dishes. Cook at 300F for 40 minutes but stir every 20 minutes to avoid burning. The dish can be eaten hot as a rice substitute or cold in salads like couscous.

cauliflower rice 2 Cauliflower Side Dish

In a food processor, chop the cauliflower into rice sized pieces.

cauliflower rice 3 Cauliflower Side Dish

Spread the finely chopped cauliflower on a glass baking tray. Add the spices and oil before baking.

Turmeric Cauliflower and Peas

1-2T raw sesame oil
1-2c Cauliflower Side Dish
1tsp turmeric, freshly grated
1/4c frozen peas
In a fry pan warm the sesame oil. When hot, warm up the Cauliflower Side Dish and stir well. Add the turmeric and peas and stir everything while the peas unfreeze. The turmeric will turn the cauliflower yellow as it warms up. The dish is a great as a base for curry.

cauliflower rice 1 Cauliflower Side Dish

Cauliflower Side Dish can be eaten hot or cold. It’s a substitute for rice or couscous. It’s a good base for adding spices or vegetables.

Seasonal Foods: Cellar Beet Borscht

root vegetable soup Seasonal Foods: Cellar Beet Borscht

Now is the time to finish off any root vegetables that may be hiding in the root cellar.

The piles of snow are disappearing around Kamloops. The nights are still cold. I’m starting to see early signs of spring in the large groups of birds that stop and frenetically feed at the GO BOX Permaculture Project before moving on to the northern breeding grounds. I’m starting to hear the morning chirping of the birds and the beginning of green grass struggling to grow on south facing slopes. Now is the time to finish off any foods that are still sitting in the root cellar. Soon the first of the early spring greens will be coming up in the cold frames. Tasty weeds such as dandelion and chickweed will bless our table.

2-3T organic butter or pastured lard
1 large cellar onion, chopped
1-2 stalks organic celery, chopped
1tsp organic caraway seeds, freshly ground (optional)
1 organic bay leaf
1tsp sea salt
1tsp organic dill weed
1-2 medium cellar carrots, chopped
2-3 large cellar beets, chopped
6-8 frozen garden Roma tomatoes, skins removed
3-4c homemade bone broth
Saute the onions, celery, carrots, sea salt and spices in the butter or lard until soft. Add the beets, bone broth and frozen tomatoes. As the tomatoes unfreeze it’s easy to remove their skins, if desired. Cover and simmer the stew until the beets are tender. Serve with kimchi or sauerkraut. Some people like borscht with sour cream or yogurt or even a tablespoon of cider vinegar or master tonic.

Seasonal Foods: Roasted Beets and Walnut Salad

roasted beet salad 1 Seasonal Foods: Roasted Beets and Walnut Salad

Roasted, marinated beets are very nice with gouda and walnuts. Serve the marinated beets on a bed of microgreens. These greens are from our indoor growing unit.

This simple recipe is great at this time of year for using up root cellar beets. The salad is nice with either golden or red beets. If you use a mixture, the red beets will stain the golden beets pink. It’s best to make a large amount of this marinated salad and store in the fridge for easy meals throughout the week.

Roasted Beet Marinate

8c organic golden and/or red beets, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 small organic onion, rings
3 organic celery stalks, chopped
1c Orange Salad Dressing
2-3c organic microgreens
1/4c-1/3c organic gouda, quark or feta cheese
1/4-1/3c Crispy Salad Topping
Roast the beets at 300F for 60 minutes in a glass dish. The beets should be tender but not soft. While the beets are roasting, soak the onion rings in the Orange Salad Dressing. Add the warm beets and celery to marinate with the onions in the dressing. Cool the beet marinate in the fridge.

When ready to assemble the salad make a bed of greens for the marinated beets. Top the marinated beets with Crispy Salad Topping and gouda, quark or feta cheese. Grass Root Dairies is a local source for organic gouda or quark.

roasted beet salad 2 Seasonal Foods: Roasted Beets and Walnut Salad

The marinated beets keep well in the fridge. The salad can be assembled quickly for an easy meal. The marinated flavor continues to improve with time.

Orange Ginger Dressing

1 organic orange, freshly squeezed
1/2 organic lemon, freshly squeezed
1 clove organic garlic, finely freshly grated
2T organic ginger, finely freshly grated
2T raw cider vinegar
1tsp local raw honey (optional)
1T homemade whole seed mustard
1/2c organic extra virgin olive oil or organic toasted sesame oil
Freshly squeeze the orange and lemon. Finely grate the peeled garlic clove and ginger. I usually keep organic ginger in the freezer and grate the ginger without peeling. Add the raw cider vinegar, whole seed mustard, and oil. Shake vigorously.

Crispy Salad Topping

2c organic walnuts or organic sunflower seeds, chopped or whole
2T organic coconut oil
1tsp sea salt
In a case iron fry pan melt the coconut oil. Add the sea salt and walnuts or sunflower seeds and stir for a few minutes until the nuts are slightly browned. Cool completely before using. Store in the fridge until needed.