Monday, June 10, 2013

Hazelnut Caramel Chocolate Bars

Stop. The. Presses.   THESE ARE SO GOOD!
My family loves Nutella.  The delicious chocolate hazelnut spread.  You know the one: the one you want to lick the spoon after using it to spread on it's edible medium. 
I saw Rachel Allen on our local PBS station making these bars and knew it was destiny.  Unfortunately, neither she, nor the PBS station had this recipe on their website so I had to search the web and found them here.  The recipe is written in British, but fortunately, I happen to own an electronic kitchen scale so I used it to measure my ingredients, then I wrote down the American measurements, and I present them to you. 
These are chocolate-y, hazelnut-y, caramel-y and yummy.  The base layer lands somewhere between a chocolate shortbread and a brownie, the caramel layer is studded with awesome, toasty, crunchy hazelnuts, and the chocolate glaze on top is exactly what the doctor ordered. When my oldest son tried them he said it is heaven in his mouth. 
Here are the 2 slight problems I had:  
1.  Cooking the caramel too long.  I think that if I had stopped at minute 11 the consistency would be much better.  I cooked mine for the full 15 minutes because it still hadn't gotten to a 'dark caramel colour', however, it had entered somewhere into the stage between 'firmball' and 'hardball', it is chewable but quite sticky.  Next time I will for sure take it off the heat at minute 11 to ensure more of a caramel candy consistency. 
2.  The butter fat separated from the candy.  I had to pour it off of the caramel before I spread it on the chocolate base layer.  I suspect it has to do with the amount of butter. 
Neither of these issues are a big enough deal for me to never try making these again, I love having Heaven in my mouth.

14 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 2/3 c. fine sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 c. flour

9 Tbsp. butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/4 c. + 3 Tbsp. fine sugar
4 1/2 oz. hazelnuts, toasted and halved (here is how to peel hazelnuts)

7 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1.  Preheat oven to 325.  Line or grease the bottom of an 9X13 inch baking pan.  Set aside.
2.  In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter for the chocolate base, stir in the cocoa powder and then the sugar mix until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs, a little at a time, whisking vigorously to avoid scrambled eggs, until mixed and then mix in the flour (it will be quite thick).  Spread the chocolate base over the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is firm.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the hazelnut caramel layer.
3.  In a medium sized saucepan and over a medium heat, melt the butter; add the condensed milk, corn syrup and sugar.  Turn the heat to low and stir continuously for 12-15 minutes unto the mixture is dark caramel colour - do not let it burn.  Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts.  Spread evenly over the chocolate base and allow to cool.
4.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmer water (also known as a bain marie). When it is melted, stir in the oil and then pour over the caramel layer and smooth out, leaving to cool and set.
5.  Cut in to squares.
6.  Try to not inhale the entire pan.

These will keep for a week in an airtight container.

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