1½ cups caster sugar
⅓ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 grams whole nuts, roasted (I used Brazil nuts and skin-on almonds)
400 grams dark chocolate (I used 62% cocoa)
¼ cup good-quality cocoa
¼ cup sifted icing sugar
20 grams freeze-dried plum powder
Line a large flat baking tray with baking paper and keep it close to the stove top.
Put the sugar, water, vanilla and the nuts into a wide, shallow saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar melts (it will remain a little cloudy). I find a heatproof spatula is best for stirring.
Bring to the boil, stirring the nuts constantly. Keep cooking until the sugar begins to re-crystallise. This will take at least 10 minutes and when it does start to crystallise it will happen very quickly. Keep stirring so they have a thick coating of the sugar.
Immediately tip onto the lined baking tray and separate the nuts using two forks, leaving some in small clusters and separating others. Leave to cool completely and discard the excess sugar.
To coat: Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the bottom of the pot touch the water.
Using two teaspoons, dip the nuts into the chocolate allowing the excess to drip off, then place on a piece of baking paper and leave until the chocolate has started to dry and go a little tacky but not fully dried and hardened.
Put the cocoa, icing sugar and the plum powder in three separate shallow dishes. Divide the nuts into thirds. Using two teaspoons, toss each lot of nuts in one of the coatings and place on a clean sheet of baking paper.
Package the nuts in small tins or sealed cellophane bags and store at room temperature for up to 2–3 weeks. Makes 4 cups of nuts