Here’s a quick and easy way to prepare hazelnut praline paste. While this method isn’t traditional, it’s incredibly effective and it gives just as mouth-wateringly delicious results. You can use the praline paste to swirl into brownies, cheesecake or frosting – or just enjoy it with a spoon.
Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan or skillet on the stove over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, until their skins start loosening and they get deep brown spots.
Tip the toasted hazelnuts into a tea towel and use it to rub off their skins.
Cool the hazelnuts completely and discard the loosened skins. Set aside until needed.
Line a baking sheet or tray with a piece of baking/greaseproof paper.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar has melted and turns a deep amber colour.
Pour the caramel onto the lined baking sheet/tray in an even, thin layer.
Allow to cool and harden completely, then cut into smaller shards with a sharp knife.
Start blending/processing the mixture. Initially, it will form a fine powder. After 5-10 minutes, it will start forming a paste. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor or blender as needed.
Tip: If the mixture is proving particularly stubborn and doesn’t want to form a paste even after prolonged blending, add sunflower oil (1 teaspoon at a time, but no more than 3 teaspoons) to kick-start the transition to a paste.
Blend/process the paste until smooth and pourable. Add the salt and blend/process until evenly distributed.
Pour the finished hazelnut praline paste into an air-tight container, such as a mason jar, for storage.
The hazelnut praline paste keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to about 1 month.
Recipe by The Loopy Whisk (www.theloopywhisk.com).