Caramelized gianduja is a mixture of roasted almonds or hazelnuts and melted sugar, ground until oily. This mass can be bound with melted chocolate or cocoa butter. Some people prefer this type of gianduja because the sugar is caramelized, giving it more flavor. The coating of the sugar protects the nuts from losing flavor.
Besides the melted sugar and the different roasting process for the nuts, the only other difference between this recipe and the standard gianduja recipe is the addition of water. To ensure accuracy in dissolving the sugar, one part water should be used for every three parts sugar. All the water will evaporate during the boiling and roasting process. The quantities of the other ingredients are the same as in the standard gianduja recipe. If using spices or vanilla, they should be added at the beginning of the boiling process.
Adapted from "Art of the Chocolatier" by Ewald Notter.
Place the almonds and hazelnuts in a 320 degrees F/160 degrees C oven to warm them.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and boil to soft ball stage (239 degrees F/115 degrees C).
Remove from the heat and add the warmed nuts. Mix continuously with a heatproof spatula until the nuts are completely covered with sugar. (Because of the movement, the sugar will crystallize and stick to the nuts, forming a nice coating.)
Return to the heat to begin the actual roasting process. Set the heat at a low temperature, and stir the nuts constantly with the heatproof spatula to allow the sugar to caramelize without burning. At first, the sugar around the nuts will be crystallized and grainy. The heat will cause the sugar to melt and caramelize. Cooking time varies, but the caramelization is complete when the sugar is completely melted around the nuts and the nuts are shiny.
Remove from the heat and pour the nuts onto a Silpat. Spread into a single layer and separate as they cool.
When cool, place the nuts in a food processor and grind until the mixture has a runny consistency. Add the nut paste to the couverture and stir until combined. If the consistency is too thin or the temperature is too warm, temper the gianduja on a marble until it reaches the correct consistency.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.