Serves: Makes about 50
I know the market is flooded with all manner of chocolates at this time of year but there is something really satisfying about making your own. Give them as presents, serve them as petits fours instead of a pudding or just put on a pair of stretchy trousers and eat them all yourself. I try and stop myself from saying things are easy to make as I am not the best person to judge, but these little chocolate hazelnut squares require no specialist skill. You do however need some chopping skills…if you don’t chop the chocolate finely enough it won’t melt easily. I have decorated the squares with edible gold leaf which isn’t necessary obviously, but a bit of sparkle is, I think, de rigueur during the festive season.
- For the base
- 200g blanched hazelnuts
- 375g plain chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped
- 75ml golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 225g unsalted butter
- 110ml whipping cream
- For the top layer
- 230g milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 55g unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- To decorate Edible gold leaf (optional)
- Line a 23cm (9x9in) square tin with non-stick baking parchment. Put the hazelnuts in a frying pan and brown over a low to moderate heat, stirring regularly, for about 8 minutes until they are evenly coloured. Cool then before grinding to a fine powder in a food processor or liquidiser. Set aside.
- Put the chocolate, syrup and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Heat the butter and cream in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil then immediately pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Leave for 10 minutes then stir in the ground hazelnuts. Pour into the prepared tin and chill until firm about 2-3 hours.
- For the topping, put the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate has melted. Pour over the set chocolate and smooth to the edges. Chill until set.
- Carefully lift the chocolate slab out of the tin and peel off the parchment. Leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours then cut into squares. Decorate each with a little edible gold leaf. Serve at room temperature but chill them if you are not serving them all on the same day.