Hazelnut Syrup – Hot drinks rejoice, and Paris by night

Serves: n/a
Approx cost: €3
Approx calories (per serving): n/a
Approx preparation and cooking time:  60 minutes

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Winter sure seems to be drawing in here – temperatures have dropped and it’s time to pull out the “heavy” bed coverings, instead of the thin summer one. I’m lucky because my apartment has not just under-floor, but above ceiling heating, so it can get really warm and snug here in the winter. Of course, it can even sometimes get too hot, so then you have to make a choice between whether you want to sweat it out inside, or suffer the icy blast from outside. There’s no half-measures here either – every single “window” in our apartment is actually a floor-to-ceiling door; indeed, one entire wall of our living room is made up of these doors and boy, is cleaning them a pain. Anyway, as a result, there is no “cracking the window open a bit”… it’s all or nothing. Usually it’s best to just wrap up a bit and go and stand on the balcony and hope you cool down. I have been shirking my “duties” recently of taking some adventures, preferring instead to stay at home in the warm. I can however dip into some of my archives from my photography collection and post a few that maybe you’ll find interesting, so to that end – today’s topic? Paris… by night! As always, these photos can be downloaded in full resolution from my Downloads Page, in case you wanted to use them for anything – wallpaper, whatever. Enjoy, and on with the show.

Place de la Concorde

Let’s start our little trip at Place de la Concorde. This giant square at the end of the Champs-Elysées is beautiful by night – especially at the end of the year, when they put a giant ferris wheel there. Some small stands at the base sell snacks and drinks, and the air is filled with the smell of cotton candy, popcorn, coffee and of course crêpes. On a clear day (or night), you can stand on the steps of the “Grande Arche” at La Défense and see the square from there, even though it’s more than 7km away. Walking across the roads can be hazardous (even navigating them by car is bad enough as I found out the other day) so you’ll definitely want to make sure you use crossings! The square itself is steeped in history – being the place of execution of many notable historical figures, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette by guillotine – and is very close to many important buildings – embassies, exclusive hotels and the Prime Minister’s residence to name just a few (I just found this out a year ago or so… it explains why they always have about 30 police vans parked just off the square every night!)

Venturing behind the ferris wheel you’ll see the Jardin des Tuileries. Not my favourite park in Paris, but a pleasant place to spend some time nevertheless. Another place with a fascinating history, this park was once the enormous “playground” of Louis XIII after the death of his father in 1610.

[…] he used it for hunting, and he kept a menagerie of animals. On the north side of the gardens, Marie de Medicis established a school of riding, stables, and a covered manege for exercising horses.

Jardin des Tuileries

Walking all the way through the Tuileries Garden will actually take you right up to the Louvre museum, but in this case we’re going to veer off a little and exit the garden to the south, stopping for a pause on a little bridge across the Seine river, called “Passerelle de Solférino”. From here you can get a lovely view of the famous Musée d’Orsay on the right, the Musée du Louvre on the left and the iconic cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, immediately ahead.

La Seine

…But we’re not going there… not just yet. Let’s go back the way we came, walk almost up to the Louvre, swing left just before the big glass pyramids and head out into the Rue de Rivoli. Walking on a bit you’ll find yourself on the Avenue de l’Opéra, right next to the part of Paris where all the Japanese stores and restaurants are. It’s also here that you’ll find the Comédie Française. Founded by a royal decree of Louis XIV in 1680, it’s one of the few state theatres in France and the only state theatre to have its own troupe of actors.

Comédie Française

Ok, now we can head back down towards the Notre Dame de Paris. Heading east on the Rue de Rivoli you’ll soon get to the “Ile de la Cité” – the island in the river which has the cathedral on it. Just behind it is the smaller “Ile St Louis” – expensive apartments and awesome ice-cream can be had here, but to conclude the little trip tonight, here’s a collage of three photos. One showing the view from the bridge, “Pont au Change”, crossing over to the Ile de la Cité, looking east. You can see the massively impressive Paris town hall in the background. Another photo shows the east end of the cathedral, and of course, what little photo-tour of Paris would be complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower, so there’s another one I threw in just “because” :).

Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville

I’ll try and post more “adventures” soon… it’s just been so cold! :( All this however brings me back to the title of today’s post! Who doesn’t like a nice hot drink when the weather is foul? You want to wrap your hands around a steaming mug of whatever your favourite brew might be and sip your chills away. Sometimes though, you want something a little more exciting than just “coffee, black”. I know, I know – I love coffee, but just occasionally, I like to jazz it up a little. Now there are many ways you can do this – hard liquor, whipped cream, sachets of “instant cappuccino mix” (….. seriously????), or you can save a bit of money and make your own syrups. My local Starbucks sells vanilla and caramel flavoured syrups, but they’re my least favourite syrups – why can’t they sell nice ones – mint, cherry, raspberry, almond etc. In any case – it was this lack of syrups which prompted me to make my own.

Hazelnut Syrup

The super awesome added bonus of this is that once you’ve made the syrups you end up with a huge pile of syrup covered, smashed-up hazelnuts which you can turn into a damn nice snack, so nothing is wasted. I ended up paying a lot for my hazelnuts because I bought them in small bags from my local store – if you shop smart at a market you can probably get a huge quantity of hazelnuts for the same price, so the price I’ve mentioned above is probably a bit of a high ceiling. As always, you’re dealing with boiling sugar, so watch yourselves. If hazelnuts aren’t your thing, you can apply the same technique to almonds.

Have a great Sunday everyone, and I hope you enjoy your next cup of coffee :)


Hazelnut Syrup ingredients

  • 500g Sugar (Demerara is best, though plain granulated will still work)
  • 0.5 litres Water
  • 300g Hazelnuts


  1. Start by turning on the oven to preheat at about 160 degrees Celsius and then mix the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Mix well to ensure you dissolve the sugar as best as possible in the water.
    Dissolving sugar in the water
  2. Take the hazelnuts and place them in a baking tray. Spread them out and place into the pre-heated oven. Roast them for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan every now and again, until they are starting to brown and are smelling nice.
    Preparing to roast the hazelnuts
  3. Once the nuts are ready, place them inside a clean, folded up tea-cloth. Rub them against a table or each other firmly – though not so hard that they break up – to remove the husky peel parts. Pick out the cleaned nuts and place them into another tea-cloth (or a bowl, shake out the current tea-cloth, and then return the nuts to it).
    Removing the peel
  4. Beat the nuts to pieces with a meat-hammer or rolling pin. You don’t want the pieces to be too fin, and definitely not a powder. Just – imagine dividing a hazelnut into about 6 pieces… there you go. That’s what you want to aim for. Place the broken up nuts into the sugar/water solution and place on a hot stove. Bring to the boil stirring all the time and boil for about 5 minutes before lowering the heat slightly and simmer until the solution has reduced in volume by about one third. Stir the solution regularly during this time and taste occasionally (don’t burn your tongue!) to ensure the syrup is not burning. The process may take from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how hard you’re simmering it. Note that if you can try and simmer it for around 45 minutes the hazelnut flavour will be stronger than if it was just simmered for 30 minutes.
    Boiling the syrup
  5. Once you have a good looking syrup, strain it once into a new pan. Place the nuts into a clean baking tray, lined with baking paper, and place into the oven. Turn the oven on to about 80 degrees Celsius and roast for about 2 hours (or more if required) – at the end of this you’ll have a sweet, nutty, crunchy treat!
    Who wants hazelnut brittle?
  6. Meanwhile, the syrup should have cooled sufficiently. You’ll need a suitable receptacle to store it in. I used a leftover syrup bottle from Starbucks, though you can use any kind of jar, bottle etc. Clean it out and then strain the syrup again, using a finer mesh strainer this time (I used a tea strainer), into a funnel and straight into the bottle. Seal up and allow to cool somewhere before storing away. Enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, poured on ice-cream, pie… any way you like :)
    Hazelnut Syrup


  1. says

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    A well-deserved award awaits you at my page please pick it up. Hazelnut syrup with drinks—decadent and addictive!!You never cease to amaze me with your creative recipes:) Congrats!

    • says

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well Malli, and thanks so much for thinking of my site Malli, it's so kind of you! I hope you're able to try this syrup. Much more simple and natural than the funky stuff from stores, although I'd use brown sugar next time!

  2. says

    Oh my goodness…where to begin. First and foremost your Paris pictures!!!! Charles they are absolutely incredible. I may even consider using them as wallpaper. LOL. 😉 Seriously though they are some of the most beautiful night time pictures of Paris I have seen. I need to get back there – you gave me a longing. :) Thanks for posting these. When Mr. N was born through about a year ago, his room was a travel theme – travel stickers, posters of places around the world, maps, etc. One of these would have made a gorgeous addition to the room.

    Now onto the hazelnut syrup. Mike loves hazelnut coffee so this would be perfect – and extra bonus, I love hazelnuts! Now the funny thing, not more than 10 minutes ago, I wrote them on our grocery list for another recipe. Looks like I might need a double batch now. 😉 And I can relate to the all-or-nothing heat situation. It reminds me of my vintage city apartments with radiator heat and windows that were glued shut by years and years of paint (probably all lead-based paint too). I would love your floor to ceiling door windows though. :)

    • says

      Thanks so much Kristy – I have some more pics (well, I have hundreds actually :p) so I'll post a few Paris-themed photos until I take my winter holiday in a month. Then I'll have lots of "real" adventure photos to post which will be good :) I'm glad you liked seeing them. I've always thought the city has a real charm to it, which many other places don't really have in the same way.

      I don't think you'd love the windows when it came to cleaning them – they are a massive pain to take care of. I try and do them twice a year… it doesn't sound much, but I manage to keep them fairly clean until then. I severely scold anyone trying to smear their grubby fingers over them in the meantime 😀

      I hope you get a chance to try the syrup. As I mentioned above, next time I'll try brown sugar I think – it gives a much more rich flavour. I'll also use almonds as well, since I love almond syrup as well! :)

      • says

        LOL! I had to laugh…"smear their grubby fingers!" That's a daily occurrence around here. Impossible to keep up with the kids faces, hands, feet, etc. LOL! :) And yes, Paris does have quite the charm. Especially at night.

  3. says

    What a brilliant idea! I have made some rhubarb syrup this Summer, but would have never thought of hazelnuts. This syrup sounds fantastic and makes me think of something I made last year with hazelnuts and syrup… Maybe I should post it… Thanks for inspiration!

    How I wish I had floor heating! You are really lucky! You cannot imagine how many people envy us (I have the same type of windows too) such windows!

    Beautiful photos! I still haven't discovered how to make good night photos with my camera (or maybe I should have a more expensive camera 😉 ).

    • says

      Thanks Sissi – rhubarb syrup sounds yummy… actually, I think I remember the post you made for that (or maybe I'm thinking of something else). You should definitely post the thing you made with hazelnuts and syrup – I'd love to see it! I'm going to make it again soon with brown sugar and almonds – that will be lovely I think :)

      As I mentioned to Kristy above – I love having such windows… I can stand and survey "the proles down below, going about their daily lives" ( :p ), but they're hell to clean! By the way, for your camera – as long as you have some basic manual settings (like the ability to modify shutter speed/ISO/aperture you'd be surprised at the results you can get, even from a cheap camera. Night photography can sometimes be hard because digital camera are just terrible at setting the white balance properly, so everything always looks really orange. I have to always manually correct the white balance on almost all my night shots. Of course, sometimes a warm glow is nice, but usually it just looks weird :p

      • says

        Charles, thanks for your answer. I think my camera is high quality, but it's compact… and I think I'm not very good with the technical points. I have bought the book you once wrote about and there were so many things sounding so complicated… I am making progress, but so slowly, I think I'll start making good photos in 50 years!

        Charles, I have windows above a three lane very busy street (often with traffic jams), so imagine how they look a week after being washed. I have a friend who now lives outside of the centre, but when she lived close to my house she said she had never washed the exterior part of her windows (!). She said it wasn't worth her nerves or effort.

  4. says

    What lovely photos!! I am so envious of you being able to just be able to capture photos of Paris like these, while I will need to board a flight and fly for more than 10 hours to get there, and only for a few days!:p

    Oooh, our Starbucks here do have raspberry drinks, I will post on it sometime as I was just thinking of having it soon 😉

    • says

      Hi Christy :) Mm, raspberry syrup… when strawberries and raspberries are in season again I think I'll have a try at making this myself – so yummy! Have you been to Paris before? You should try to come and visit! Croissants every day!

  5. says

    Charles, what a fantastic post! Your photos of Paris by night are extraordinary and feel almost otherworldly in comparison to the daily views here ;0 The Louvre is at the top of our list of museums to visit in Paris… we chuckle because our family has such diverse interests, we wonder if we could manage a European trip and still be friends by the end of it – lol. The syrup, wow, what a brilliant idea. I can't even go near the syrupy gunk that Starbucks puts out – sorry – it's just plain gross (though I do like their coffee). I love that you made your own and with simple, delightful ingredients. Hazelnut is one of my favourites but I have so much trouble finding fresh ones… and there’s nothing worse than a stale nut :0 – do you buy yours in a bag or sealed container? Loved this post Charles!! (great perspective in the last photo).

    • says

      Hi Kelly – make sure you allow a whole day at least for the Louvre – it's absolutely massive. I ended up in one section which had a giant cross-section of a functioning bees' nest or something. There was a tube going up to the window and you could see all these bees flying in and out. Truly bizarre when you're surrounded by paintings from hundreds of years ago!

      Hehe, I'm glad you liked the look of the syrup – as I mentioned above though, next time I'd use brown sugar… I think it makes the whole flavour much richer. I quite enjoy Starbucks coffee too. People hate on it and call it "Starburnt" – it's true, I think the beans are roasted longer but it's just a personal taste thing. I do very much enjoy my double espressos from there 😀

      For the nuts, I often get them in a bag, although from time to time I've bought them in vacuum-sealed bricks, like coffee. Depends how much a nut-connoisseur I'm feeling like at the time 😀

      Glad you liked the photos :) I'll post more soon!

  6. says

    I have never been to Paris when the ferris wheel is up. Your photos reminded me just how beautiful Paris is at night. I love that one recipe gives you two wonderful ingredients. Maybe you could drizzle the syrup over ice cream and sprinkle with the yummy hazelnuts.

    • says

      Hi Karen, definitely – I think it would be amazing over ice-cream. Unfortunately the hazelnuts didn't last long at all (all of about 18 hours :p … they are incredibly addictive!)… I suppose I could always crush up some fresh ones!

      I think my wife and I are going to make a point of going on the ferris wheel this year… Should be a nice little ride, and a breathtaking view!

  7. says

    Uhhhh this is just mean. Hazelnut syrup? Sounds amazing, Charles! I would contemplate just drinking it. And don't even get me started on your Paris photos. They're all absolutely stunning! I've been dying to visit…it's definitely at the top of my list. I just might make one of those photos my desktop background. They're all so gorgeous!

    • says

      Thanks so much Caroline! The syrup's rather sweet – not sure if I could just drink it neat, haha 😀 It's good though – makes a wonderful topping for desserts too! You should definitely try and take a trip here! I'll be sure to give you a good list of all the best places to eat! 😀

  8. says

    Where do I begin…I was initially so excited about the title stating Hazelnut Syrup then I became fascinated by your apartment..sounds lovely, followed by views of Paris at night. You're killing me with those pics, I'm dreaming to visit one day..or should I say night :) Now for that syrup, seems to be involved but so worth it! The syrups at Starbucks sound good but I fear they really won't taste as good as homemade!

    • says

      Hi Linda – you know, talking about Starbucks syrups made me think that maybe I could make my own mint syrup too. Nice 😀 I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures… and I do hope you take a trip here one day to this fair city! Hope you're able to give the syrup a try sometime… I'd recommend using brown sugar (like demerara… I think it's called "turbinado" in the US maybe?)

  9. says

    What gorgeous photos. Still I'm sort of kicking myself seeing this great recipe. I've been eating hazelnuts all week and keep meaning to shell a bunch and do something with them. Well I just kept shelling them…. Must get more nuts.

    • says

      Thanks Greg :) Moar nutz! My weakness is walnuts but I'll be damned if I can ever produce anything but a crushed mess when trying to shell them. I'll spend 20 minutes, carefully breaking off small bits of shell, only for the nut to break during the final extraction! Grrrr….

  10. says

    What gorgeous photos of Paris, Charles. I've not been to Paris when the giant Ferris Wheele is there…another reason to go! We're hoping to get there next spring.

    Hazelnuts are one of my flavourite nuts, this syrup sounds delicious. I bet it would make an incredible milkshake or yogurt smoothie too! And I love the double roasted hazelnuts for a snack.

    • says

      Hi Eva – by next spring do you mean 2012? It would be wonderful to meet a fellow blogger if you came here! I'd have to scout out a suitably awesome restaurant well in advance! Glad you liked the photos, and "smoothie"… nice one, thanks for the idea… I'll try that :)

    • says

      Hi Shen – thanks for your comments! I did indeed – my tripod is very heavy and metal, but at least it means it doesn't blow around in the wind! My camera doesn't like high ISOs very much so long shutter speeds are usually a necessity, especially with my regular lens. I think in all the photos the average shutter speed was 8-10 seconds, with the theatre photo (and the small water feature on the right) the shutter speed was about 20 seconds. I'll post some more Paris photos again soon – hope you'll like them :)

      • says

        Hi Charles, I missed this post and I heard about your photos from my husband so here I am. Absolutely gorgeous. I knew you take great photos, but I didn't know you take great landscape pictures. No matter how hard I (or my husband) try we never get this wall-paper worthy pictures. Gosh your photos are just amazing. Are you sure about no watermark? 😉 I've never had hazelnut syrup and it looks fun to make and I bet it's delicious!

        • says

          Thanks so much Nami – you're so kind. I find night-time is a very forgiving time to take photos, especially in a place like Paris. As long as you have a tripod, and know some basic manual functions on the camera it's quite easy to take good photos. I couldn't create such good results during the day time, haha! I don't mind sharing the love with my photos – I don't think they're so good that someone would want to steal them hopefully 😉

  11. says

    You've just kept me motivated to keep saving for Paris. I can't wait to visit and your photos definitely have inspired me. Of course you have to tell me which are the places I should visit :). And I just LOVE this Hazelnut Syrup. It just sounds and look amazing

  12. says

    Wow, wow, wow! Those photos of Paris are amazing! I never manage to make good pictures at night. Soon the Christmas markets are going to be on again and I'll try to take some night pictures and hopefully the results would be as good as yours, but I doubt it because I only have a pocket camera which I don't really know how to use (I always use the automatic function – what a shame ;)!).

    I had no idea how to make hazelnut syrup, thanks for letting us all know, as Shen said above, you have solved the mystery for us ;).

    • says

      Ah yes, there's a lovely christmas market at La Défense in Paris which has lots of little shops selling mulled wine, aligot, crêpes… mmm.

      The only problem is, it's always SO crowded, and they put the little huts inside so close together, so it's really difficult to get good photos :(

      You should try practising a little with the manual functions on your camera – you can get some really good results, just from changing one or two settings. I'm glad you like my Paris pics though :)

      Enjoy the hazelnut syrup if you get a chance at making it!

  13. says

    Gorgeous pictures and a very intriguing new drinks recipe. I'm too pooped to do any demanding cooking after having made a double batch of baklava on the weekend. One was the traditional diamond shaped version in a 9×13 pan while the other half of the package was made into baklava rolls (aka ladies fingers). Very fiddly but tasty even though the nuts kept falling out of the diamond shaped ones.


    There's a nice video here.


    • says

      Oh, I love baklava – I dare not make anything like that now though – After my shortbread I had a very bad week and really put on some weight… I'm supposed to be trying to work some off at the moment… not put it back on again :/

      I think I'll save something like this as my "goal-weight" treat… thanks for the links! :)

      Glad you like the photos :)

  14. says

    Charles, I don't drink a lot of coffee, but when I do, I drink it black or with a little hazelnut syrup if available. Yet it never occurs to me to get a bottle of the syrup for home use, and it certainly never occurs to me to MAKE it! This is GREAT!

    • says

      Hi Jean – I drink way too *much* coffee, but luckily for me I drink most of it plain black. Syrup is an occasional treat for me – after an especially nice dinner for example. If I drank syrup in every cup then… well, I'd be in trouble I think 😀

  15. says

    Lovely to read about your trip and see the pictures! We hope to be in France next summer!!! Thanks for sharing this and for your sweetest comments on my blog -(Now I know why I enjoy what I do so much ) Dealing with the insurance was unbelievably cinchy and I felt far more at ease once that was done! – Love the syrup and sweet nuts you've made – love when one recipe can yield 2 delicious products :)

    I have one philosophy Charles – Eat healthy at home, always, but when we decide to go to restaurants, it is no fun to not indulge – So go ahead :)))

    cheers, Priya

    • says

      Thanks so much for your comments Priya – I didn't have to ever have any dealings with my insurance company so far, knock on wood. I hope if/when I do one day it will go smoothly :) I think I'll definitely be eating forced-healthily for the next week after tonight's indulgence. Wowee, I still fee so stuffed, but Indian food is probably my absolute favourite and I find it so hard to say no to the beautiful colours and flavours :(

  16. says

    btw, did you see Midnight in Paris – It was a great movie and one that I have truly enjoyed and loved after a LONG line of really mediocre ones! If you have not seen it yet, DVD comes out Dec 13!!!

    • says

      Actually no I didn't – I'll look it up. I think I read some reviews of it, or saw a trailer or something and it looked not bad! Thanks for the tip :) By the way, if you do come over to Paris, let me know if you want any tips on great places to see/things to do – I'll be happy to advise! :)

  17. Monica says


    This is a great recipe and I really like the technique to clean the skins off the hazelnuts. How long can the syrup be stored for?

    • says

      Hi Monica, thanks a lot! It will last for a good few weeks since it has such a high sugar content, although I’d recommend keeping it in the refrigerator for best results!

  18. CPB says

    Thanks for this. Now I know why my nut syrups always come out so weak – not simmering or boiling long enough.

  19. says

    Wow, this syrup is epic. I left it on the stove for the longer amount of time that you recommended, and it’s a concentrated wonderful hazelnut flavor. I only wish I’d made more. Translating the recipe though to American, it’ll be easy to make more. I ground the hazelnuts in the food processor with the “slicer” blade so that was super easy. And converting the metric amounts of ingredients, it seems to be equal parts water, sugar, and hazelnuts. Very easy to remember and I’ll definitely be making it again. Thanks so much :)

    • says

      Hi Erika, thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed them! Good idea to blend up the hazelnuts… I’ll have to try that. Were you able to get a snack out of the hazelnuts afterwards? That’s one of the good parts… having this kind of “hazelnut brittle” 😀

  20. Liz says

    Hello, first I want to thank you for this recipe, but I have a question. I followed the directions to a T, simmered the mixture for about 35 minutes, and let it cool in the refrigerator (and solidified). However, even at room temperature, this ‘syrup’ is harder than a rock and only liquefies when microwaved for about 30-60 seconds. My theory is that I simmered it too long and too much water was lost. How can I fix the syrup after-the-fact (mix water into it?) and how can I prevent this from happening again? The syrup is absolutely delicious, but I prefer if it maintained its syrup-consistency.

    • says

      Hi Liz – yowzers! I’m sorry you ended up with some sort of toffee/fudge mixture (is it tasty in that form at least, have you tried?). I must admit, I’ve never had this problem, so I’m not sure how it could have happened, but it would have been for one of the following reasons:

      – Too much sugar
      – Too little water
      – Boiled and / or simmered too long or too high (it should be quite a low simmer, and if the stove you’re using doesn’t cool down fast enough after turning down from boiling then maybe use a separate hotplate?)

      The only other thing I can think of is that I never cooled it in the refrigerator… always at room temperature. I suppose from a chemistry standpoint, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that rapid cooling as in a refrigerator (well, it’s more rapid than letting it stand at least I mean) might have affected the sugar molecules causing this to happen… maybe?!

      Sorry, I can’t be more helpful, but I hope you don’t have the problem again. It’s very lovely to be able to pour syrup out, which reminds me… winter’s upon me and it’s high time I make some more syrup for my December coffees 😀

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