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Almost like a Ferrero Rocher, these little hazelnut squares from The Australian Women’s Weekly will, without a doubt, remind you of the famous Italian candy from the very first mouthful. They are a bit labour intensive if you plan to make the hazelnut meal from scratch but you can easily save on time and energy by purchasing a sachet of ground hazelnuts from the nearest supermarket. Be sure to toast the store bought stuff for a couple of minutes in a preheated oven to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste before they go into your cake batter. The milk chocolate topping gives a characteristic Nutella feel to these mini bites but you can switch to dark chocolate, if you fancy a more intense cocoa flavour.

HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SQUARES

Ingredients:

100g butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g ground hazelnuts

20g all purpose flour

150g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180oC. Grease a 8 x 8-inch square baking pan and line base and sides with baking paper.

  • Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl with electric mixer till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one by one.

  • Stir in the ground hazelnuts and sifted flour. Spread mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  • Stand in pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare glaze by combining the chopped milk chocolate and oil.

  • Stir in a heatproof bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water until chocolate mixture is smooth.

  • Spread the chocolate glaze over the slice with spatula, and gently tap pan on bench until glaze is smooth.

  • Refrigerate until chocolate glaze is set before cutting it with a sharp knife, wiping the blade between cuts.

  • Store the hazelnut chocolate squares in a large air tight container for up to one week. Makes 16-20 pieces.

Hazelnut Chocolate Squares

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If you have Nutella but no chocolate mousse, dnt panic. We can fix that right away. All you need is a brilliant recipe for Nutella mousse like this one from Purewow. To use what I had on hand, I substituted the cream cheese for a tub of mascarpone and used only a quarter of the amount of sugar stated. I can imagine that you can totally go without any added sweetener as the Nutella should be enough for any seasoned sweet tooth. If you are patient enough, leave it to set in the fridge for a couple of hours to achieve the distinctive mousse-like texture but if you cannot keep yourself waiting for so long, grab a dessert spoon and simply dig in after topping with fresh cream and chocolate shavings [from the photos you can guess this is exactly what I did!]

NUTELLA MOUSSE

Ingredients:

250g mascarpone, room temperature

3/4 cup Nutella hazelnut spread

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate

Whipped cream, for topping

Method:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese with the Nutella.

  • Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer it to a medium bowl.

  • Wipe out the bowl. In the bowl of the electric mixer, fitted with whip attachment, whip cream to soft peaks.

  • Add sugar and vanilla extract, and whip to medium peaks. Add a third of whipped cream to Nutella mixture.

  • Fold with a rubber spatula to combine. Add another third of cream and repeat, folding it until incorporated.

  • Add the final third and fold to combine. Divide mousse among serving dishes and chill for 30 to 45 minutes.

  • Top mousse with a dollop of whipped cream, garnish with chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate. Serves 4.

With the festive season closing in, I felt it was time for me to revisit my cookie repertoire in search of something festive to kick start my Christmas baking. The heavenly Nutella and hazelnut combination in this soft textured cookie from Bake or Break may remind you of a Ferrero Rocher minus the hazelnut centre. It looks good in any Christmas hamper when packed in clear cellophane bags with a fancy ribbon. Its rugged nutty appearance makes sure this cookie has a distinctive ‘homemade’ look that conveys the feeling of extra effort and love to the recipient.

NUTELLA HAZELNUT CRINKLE COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups finely chopped hazelnuts

180g Nutella hazelnut spread

1/4 cup butter or shortening

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

1/3 cup light muscovado sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

3 tablespoons full cream milk

Sifted confectioner’s sugar

Method:

  • Toast chopped hazelnuts in shallow pan at 350 degree in oven for about 5 minutes until fragrant.

  • Next, beat together Nutella and butter or shortening. Gradually add the sugars and then add eggs.

  • Stir in vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the Nutella mixture.

  • Alternate with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts.

  • At this point, put the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to make it easier to work with.

  • Shape into 1-inch diameter balls. Roll in finely chopped hazelnuts, then in the confectioner’s sugar.

  • The cookies should be placed about 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets or lined baking sheets.

  • Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on wire racks. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Let the Festive Mood Begin!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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