Tag - hazelnut

Chocolate and Hazelnut Scones

Four years have passed since my last attempt at making scones. Needless to say, they didn’t turn out very well that time around. From that point on they’ve always seemed so daunting in my mind. It’s the pressure of the perfect sandy texture when mixing the dry ingredients and butter before you dare add the wet ingredients. I’m never confident in this stage to know whether or not they’re going to turn out well.

I used a recipe from Baked Explorations, a cookbook that I’ve had since 2011. It’s a gorgeous book and full of great tips, wonderful photography, and is also home to a trusty coffee cake recipe. I’ve been blessed with wonderful desserts because of that book that I decided to be faithful in their scone instructions.

The scones came out beautifully! Jason said they were light and airy and complemented coffee and tea perfectly. Great job Baked Explorations, you did it once again.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark sweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Nutella

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1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the rack in the center.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
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3. Add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the butter is pea size and the mixture is coarse.
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4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and cream.

5. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together.  Gently and briefly knead the dough with your hands.

6. Flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches. Evenly spread the Nutella over the dough.

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7. Roll the dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long, turn it on its end, and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high. Do not overwork the dough.

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8. Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Top with toasted hazelnuts and slightly press in so they don’t fall out.

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9. Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.  Do not over bake.

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10. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely.  Place the baking sheet with the parchment still on it underneath the rack.

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Jason got me a new lens for my birthday and then I purchased a tripod a couple weeks ago. These have been picture-taking saviors! I tested them both out on this recipe and realized what a difference they make.

The tripod allows me to lower the shutter speed to let more light into the photo. Without it, I’m not able to do bring the shutter speed lower than 1/80 because the pictures will come out blurry. Humans can’t really hold a camera without interfering with the quality of the picture at a shutter speed slower than that. Here are two set ups with and without using the tripod.

With tripod:

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Without tripod:

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With tripod:

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Without tripod:

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Before the tripod/new lens I had to search around the house for the perfect lighting. This is not conducive to quick cooking and not always ideal when you have a hungry husband. The tripod and lens are great time savers and also take some pretty neat pictures!

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte

There was someone working in the grocery store yesterday giving out free cosmo shots. I’m not certain if it was the booze coursing through my veins but out of no where, dessert struck me! I quickly searched through the Smittenkitchen blog for inspiration. I’ve been following that blog for the past six years and it was in the gluten free section that I found… a Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte. All of those things in one luscious dessert? Yes. Please and thank you. The recipe took a good amount of time but it is very much worth it if you have a love of hazelnuts!

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte
(Recipe credit to smittenkitchen)
Cooking oil spray
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts (about 12 ounces or 340 grams), toasted, then skinned as much as possible*
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon espresso granules
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy or whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Frangelico
A semi- or bittersweet chocolate bar for shaving

1. Spread raw hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, tossing once throughout baking. Let cool and roll them around with a towel to remove as much of their skins as you can.

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2. Change heat to 325°F and position oven racks in the top and lower levels of oven. Draw eight-inch circles onto four pieces of parchment paper. Place them face down onto two baking sheets, ensuring pencil-side is down so that it doesn’t touch the macaroon mixture. Spray each of the circles with cooking oil and wipe down with a paper towel so that there is a thin layer of oil on each.
3. Place hazelnuts into the food processor with 1 cup of sugar and salt. Blend until very finely ground (I didn’t blend quite as much as I would prefer for next time. This is an important step!) Set aside.DSC_0125
4. Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Carefully drizzle in the vanilla extract and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks have formed, they will almost have a pearly sheen to them.

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5. Fold hazelnut mixture into egg whites in thirds. Spread a quarter of the macaroon batter evenly within each circle, filling completely. Bake macaroon layers until golden and dry to the touch — 20-25 minutes. Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.

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6. While meringues cool, heat half of chocolate chips, water, and espresso in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring until smooth. After all the chips have melted, remove from heat and stir in second half of chocolate until melted. Spread chocolate evenly over tops of meringue rounds, as long as they are cool enough. Cool until chocolate is set, this could take over an hour or you could place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to help speed it along.

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7. While chocolate is setting, beat heavy cream with sugar and Frangelico in standing mixer until it holds stiff peaks.

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8. To assemble, peal macaroons off parchment paper and place first disc directly onto whatever serving plate you plan to use. Spread 1/3 cup of whipped cream onto each layer before placing the next. When you’ve reached the final layer, frost the top and side of torte with whipped cream. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape shavings off chocolate to top the cake.

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