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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.

The aftermath of Valentine’s day is that you will probably end up with more chocolate than you can possibly eat even if you plan to go on an all-chocolate diet. While I still have my stash of Christmas chocolates (along with an enormous jar of Nutella spread) preciously stowed in a cool, dark corner of my kitchen cupboard, I have been at a loss of think of a recipe that might tempt me to get them out of their hiding place… until I discovered these Chocotella cupcakes.

In fact the original recipe, from Taste.com.au, has each cupcake frosted with a swirl of Nutella, whipped cream and a Ferrero Rocher elegantly balanced on top. I, however, was intent on using my mini muffin pan to make smaller cakes and had to dismiss the idea of having a Ferrero Rocher perched on top of something this small, which would surely make it look ridiculously out of proportion. For my next batch of Choctella cupcakes, I plan to include a Nutella centre inside and dunk the Nutella topped cakes in hazelnut praline and christened them as Fererro Rocher cupcakes.

CHOCTELLA CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

70g brown sugar, firmly packed

50g butter, room temperature

40g dark chocolate, chopped

60ml (1/4 cup) cold water

1 egg, room temperature

75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour

25g (1/6 cup) plain flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

120g (3/8 cup) Nutella

Whipped cream, to serve

Chocolate flakes or sprinkles

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan forced. Lightly grease and line a mini muffin pan with paper cases.

  • Place sugar, butter, chocolate and water in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for 3 minutes.

  • Stir until melted and smooth. Set it aside to cool. Add the egg to the chocolate mixture and whisk well.

  • Sift flours and cocoa over egg mixture. Gently fold in until just combined. Divide mixture among pans.

  • Bake the cakes for 12 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

  • Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Spread cupcakes with 1tsp Nutella.

  • Top cupcakes with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate flakes or sprinkles. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate + Nutella

Making edible gifts is definitely my favourite activity during Christmas. After the much loved Pfeffernüsse last week, I could not keep myself away from the wide array of Christmas recipes I have collected over years. Deliciously illustrated pages depicting Christmas themed cookies, brownies, cupcakes and candy from my innumerable cookbooks made it impossibly difficult to settle on a single baking project. In the end, I decided to go ahead with what I already had in my kitchen cupboard since my Christmas shopping would invariably include lots of new exotic ingredients from gourmet shops. I unfortunately happen to be an impulsive shopper as most of the stuff I buy on whim finally find themselves spending weeks to months unattended till I remember to invest them into a worthy recipe.

A big jar of Nutella always holds the place of pride on my kitchen shelf along with other baking essentials like my bottle of golden syrup and my stash of vanilla pods from Madagascar. Nutella is a life-saving ingredient, you can use it as an emergency filling for any sweet bakes or even as frosting if you need a last-minute topping everyone will love. When I found this gorgeous set of pictures featuring Nutella truffles, dipped in dark chocolate and dusted with golden ‘hazelnut dust’ on DeliciouslyYum, I instantly bookmarked them as the chocolate candy I would blog about this Christmas.

NUTELLA TRUFFLES

Ingredients:

14 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread/ Nutella

1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature

1 teaspoon vegetable or canola oil, optional

Roasted, chopped hazelnuts for sprinkling

Method:

  • Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place 10 ounces of the chocolate into a medium bowl.
  • Using the microwave or stove, heat up heavy cream until hot, but not boiling. Pour over the chocolate.

  • Let stand for 1-2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir mixture until combined and chocolate is melted.
  • Stir in chocolate hazelnut spread and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until it is set.

  • With the help of a small scoop (about 1 teaspoon), scoop out the chocolate mixture and form into balls.
  • Place the chocolate balls onto prepared cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Heat remaining chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl until melted. Add oil, if using, and stir to combine.
  • Remove the firm chocolate balls from the freezer and place one ball at a time into the melted chocolate.

  • Using a fork, evenly coat each ball with the melted chocolate and remove the truffle from the chocolate.
  • Place on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining balls. Pour leftover chocolate in a small Ziploc bag.

  • Cut off one corner and pipe melted chocolate on top and finish with hazelnuts. Return truffles to freezer.
  • Leave for 15 minutes until well set. Keeps up to 7 days stored in the fridge or up to 4 weeks in the freezer.

While my truffle balls were setting in the fridge, waiting to be packaged in their individual wrappers, I found time for another candy I have been longing to make ever since I saw the recipe on a tin of Nestle condensed milk. Luckily, the online recipe on The Pretty Blog comes as close to the real thing as I can remember. Super sweet, sticky cubes of vanilla fudge make a nice addition to any Christmas hamper and are quite inexpensive if you need to make large batches. The most important step is achieve the perfect fudge-like texture is to beat it well after it starts to caramelize. Before it sets completely, you can fold in any topping of your choice including chocolate chips, cranberries, apricots, chopped nuts or a combination of any of these but my favorite remains a sprinkling of our local coarse sea salt.

VANILLA FUDGE

Ingredients:

500 ml (2cups) granulated sugar

75 ml (5 tablespoons) cold water

25 ml (5 teaspoons) golden syrup

60 g unsalted butter, softened

1 can (390g) condensed milk

5 ml (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod

Method:

  • Put sugar and water into a large heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

  • Add the butter and syrup and stir until the butter has melted. Add the condensed milk and stir it.

  • Continue stirring till it comes to the boil. Boil very slowly on low heat, stirring every minute or 2.

  • Boil until soft ball stage, mixture will darken to a deep caramel colour and will form sugar crystals.

  • Remove mixture from the stove, add the vanilla extract and seeds and beat with a wooden spoon.

  • Beating the fudge for about 5 to 10 minutes will ensure a great texture when it is cools completely.

  • Pour the hot fudge into a 22 x 22 cm square pan lightly greased with butter and level the surface.

  • Leave it to cool completely in pan. Cut into squares when cold and store in an air-tight container.

Homemade Christmas Candy

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