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Praline Paste

© David James Di Pardo – 2015

Praline paste has become an obsession of mine over the past couple of months. For years I strayed from it thinking making a vegan version would require a fair amount of trail and error. Little did I know that most praline paste recipes don’t include dairy at all.

If you’re not sure what to use praline paste for, let me reassure you. You can put it on anything! Well, maybe not anything, I can’t imagine brocoli smothered in praline paste would be particularly good, but it may insterest some… You can use it as a spread on toast or scones as you would nutella or any other nut butter. Add it to cupcakes, use it as a base for glazes or frostings, or simply serve it with fruit. Try it in chocolate truffles or make chocolate praline cups, or even as a filling for a chocolate nut tart. It isn’t bad by the spoonfull either as a midnight snack, not that I’ve done that. Storing it at the back of the fridge helps though, that way no one notices the levels in the jar going down periodically.

Praline Paste

© David James Di Pardo – 2015

Arriving home from work and contemplating what to make for dinner, I stand at the fridge with a spoon and the fridge door open (the calories don’t count if you eat it in the fridge, right?). A spoonfull helps inspire motivate me to make dinner, some days it takes two. Give it a try, it takes all of three ingredients to make aside from salt and water. One taste of this rich butter spread and you’ll be hooked too.

Praline Paste

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons walnut oil, or coconut oil, as desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast 10-15 minutes, unit fragrant.

Remove from the oven and transfer the hazelnuts to a clean dish cloth, fold up the ends to enclose the hazelnuts. The steam will loosen the skins making them easier to rub off.

Once the hazelnuts have cooled slightly, about 10 minutes, open up the dish towel. Rub a handfull of nut between the palms of your hands loosening the skins and allowing the to fall back on to the dish cloth. Don’t worry if some skins remain. Place the skinned hazelnuts aside.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and oil lightly.

In a medium pot, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat. Using a candy thermometer bring the mixture up to hard crack stage (300°F). The carmel will have taken on a light amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts using a heat proof silicone spatula, making sure they are comletely covered in the caramel mixture.

Working quickly transfer the mixture to the parchment lined baking sheet, being careful as the mixture is extremely hot. Spread out the nuts as much as possible and allow to cool completely.

Once the nuts have cooled, transfer them to a blender or food process. Process until a smooth paste forms, adding the salt and walnut/coconut oil as required. Note if you intend to add the paste to a frosting a thicker mixture, the consitency of almond paste is preferred. If you prefer a looser paste to use a spread or sauce add more oil.

Once the desire consitency has been reached transfer to an air tight container or jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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