Sheet Pan

Hazelnut Brittle with Chocolate

January 14, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes enough to get you through a hard afternoon
Author Notes

Here are the top 5 things to do with this brittle:

1. Break it into scrappy chunks. Eat them obsessively in an attempt to soothe your aching heart.

2. Dip half of each chunk into melted bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate. Make your kids smile when they get home from school.

3. Blitz the heck out of it in the food processor and turn it into praline. Leave it coarse. Or continue chopping until it’s a fine powder. Use it as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, waffles, crepes, or dutch babies. It is also wonderful folded into whipped cream as a crunchy cloudy filling between layers of cake.

4. Steal the Vitamix from your kale-shake-loving husband and turn the brittle into hazelnut cookie butter. Spread between French macarons. Or just eat spoonfuls late at night for a direct shot of sugar to the bloodstream.

5. Freeze the brittle and save it for your son’s June birthday. —Phyllis Grant

Test Kitchen Notes

We love to serve this recipe with the Basil Hayden® Bourbon Strawberry Spritz—this tasty pairing's featured in our video series One Host, Two Ways, brought to you by our friends at Basil Hayden®. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups hazelnuts, skin on
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Spread hazelnuts out on a sheet pan. Toast them. Agitate the sheet pan a few times to make sure they’re browning evenly. You want them to get a shade darker, but not to burn -- this takes about 10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes.
  2. Place hazelnuts on a large dishtowel. Pull the four corners together and twist closed like a little package (looks like a beggar’s purse). Keeping the towel tightly closed, roll the nuts around on the counter with your hand to loosen their skins. Occasionally open it up to check -- you want to rub the hazelnuts together until about half of the skins come off.
  3. Open dishtowel. Pick out the nuts, leaving the skins behind. By hand or in the food processor, chop the hazelnuts. I like some bigger chunks in my brittle, but the size is up to you.
  4. You will need to move quickly once the sugar caramelizes, so get ready by covering a sheet pan with parchment paper. Find a spreading tool like a large offset spatula or a wooden spoon. Set aside.
  5. Place sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Add just enough water to soak the sugar. Swirl (by the pot handle) until all the sugar is wet. Place over medium heat. It will boil. The sugar will dissolve. Don’t stir. Don't walk away. Swirl around (by the pot handle) if it's not caramelizing evenly. Cook until it's almost at desired color (Grade B maple syrup or darker). Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped hazelnuts. Stir in vanilla and salt. Immediately pour onto parchment paper on prepared sheet pan. It hardens very quickly so spread it out as fast as you can until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Be careful. As I say to my kids: this sugar is so hot it could kill you.
  6. It will cool and firm up within fifteen minutes. Break into chunks. Melt chocolate over low heat. One at a time, dip half of each piece of brittle into the chocolate and place back down on parchment on the sheet pan. Place sheet pan in fridge or freezer to firm up the chocolate. A speedier (and fun) option is to just drizzle the chocolate all over the brittle. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks. Or freeze.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Laura Smith
    Laura Smith
  • Ned Semoff
    Ned Semoff
  • bonheurcuisine
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

9 Reviews

Laura S. December 3, 2020
Just made this...and wish I'd gone ahead and added butter and baking soda as is usually in brittle recipes. This misses the slightly bubblier, buttery quality of brittle with butter and soda.
Ned S. January 24, 2015
So delicious!!! Definitely a great party dish to share!
Monique April 2, 2014
I need to make this. My 5 yr old daughter has a loose front tooth that needs a little help. :)
glutwin January 21, 2014
Wow…I love nougatine in any form…using any nut…but filberts?!..I am from Oregon…so this is a MUST! A quick question…could I possibly melt the chocolate and spread it on a Silpat prior to adding the molten hazelnut mixture and then break into pieces after cooling?..Would the hot mixture forcibly mess up the chocolate on the bottom?…Your directions are refreshingly straight-forward and comprehensible…un grand merci!!
Phyllis G. January 21, 2014
the sugar hazelnut mixture is so hot that it would completely melt through the chocolate. best to dip or drizzle once the brittle has set (and it's so fun!).
Renee B. January 19, 2014
These look and sound divine. My hard afternoon may be more/less intense than yours! How big a batch will this make? I've never made brittle so can't begin to guess. Thank you.
Phyllis G. January 20, 2014
once broken up, i'd say you have about 35 bite-size pieces. or you can break them into bigger chunks. it's a nice amount.
bonheurcuisine January 16, 2014
I love this recipe! Im using it as a topping for my favourite chocolate cake!
Phyllis G. January 20, 2014
great idea. i use it on cakes all the time.