Finally! A gluten free version of my most requested hazelnut chocolate crunch bar for you all! Be warned: it is as addictive as the normal version and super easy to make. No baking required.
What makes these chocolate bars so irresistible? Two things: the hazelnut taste and the cocoa pops crunch. I tested many different type of gluten free cocoa pops before I was finally satisfied with the taste and texture. I settled on Hubbards’ Thank Goodness Gluten free cocoa puffs. These stayed completely crunchy!
Regarding the hazelnut-chocolate combination, you can certainly change it to suit your latest cravings. Think peanut butter, salted caramel, macadamia butter, almond cacao and also peppermint to name a few.
You can dress the bars up with whatever you like: a dusting of cocoa powder; hazelnut; hazelnut praline crunch; fresh-dried berries. Or left naked. Your options are endless which makes this an ideal ‘bring-a-dessert’ that *potentially* satisfies everyone.
Makes one square tray, cut bars sized to your liking. I got 39 (3 rows of 13 bars of about 1.5 cm by 8cm)
For the crunchy Bottom layer:
- 250g milk chocolate (33% cacao), melted
- 100g roasted hazelnut paste (Nocciola from Equagold)
- 125g (about half cup) chocolate-hazelnut spread (instead of the hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread, you can use the same amount of Forty Thieves’ Cacao Hazelnut butter instead.)
- 2 cups Hubbards Thank Goodness gluten free cocoa puffs
For the filling:
- 300g dark chocolate (70% cacao) broken into small pieces, (I used Solomon’s Gold or Whittakers 72% Ghana will work too)
- 300ml cream
- 50g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- For the bottom layer, line a narrow rectangular tray (or shallow slice box) with 2 pieces of baking paper, with the paper hanging over the sides of the tray. (This will help you lift the slab off from the tray effortlessly.)
- Melt chocolate over a pot of simmering hot water. Once smooth, add the roasted hazelnut paste and chocolate-hazelnut spread; stir until smooth.
- Fold in the cocoa puffs until the chocolate is combined (It should look like a mess!) Scoop the chocolate mixture to the prepared tray. Press the mixture down into a smooth, even layer. Let it chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
- To make the top layer, place the broken chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream till it is just simmering and pour over the chocolate.
- Shake the bowl a little and let this sit for about 2 minutes, this is so that the chocolate melts smoothly, avoiding any lumps in your final product.
- Add the cubed butter and whisk until ganache is smooth. As you whisk, the cream will magically homogenize with the melted chocolate to form a shiny smooth, pourable ganache.
- Pour the ganache over the cocoa puffs and smooth with a spatula. Leave in the fridge to set, about 1 hour.
- Decorate with whole hazelnuts, hazelnut praline crunch, freeze dried fruits or anything you wish! Place in the fridge to set it a further 2 hours. Slice into bars before serving.
Styled by my little chef.
Having made a delicious salty-sweet combo out of my cornflake crumble and Kohu Road Pure Vanilla ice cream, I needed something to serve it with. Cookie sandwich was an obvious contestant, but I had a particular picture in mind. I wanted something light but not cakey, rich but not heavy. I need, a mousse cake. More so, I need a Darren Purchese cake. I’ve adapted the recipe from Lamingtons and Lemon Tart as follows.
- 100ml thickened cream, whipped
- 180g 72% dark chocolate
- 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks
- 30g caster sugar
*this proportion when baked in a square tin will produce a beautiful but rather thin (1.5cm) cake slice. If you would prefer a thicker slice, double the amounts and bake for 1 hour 15 mins.
- Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a square baking tin with baking paper with enough overhand to lift the cake once cooked. Spray the paper lightly with rice bran oil.
- Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave (2 mins should do it).
- Whip cream till thick and fluffy.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Gently fold half of this mixture into the melted chocolate, then fold in the remaining egg mixture.
- Fold in the whipped cream.
- Pour mixture into the baking tin. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and leave cake to cool completely before chilling in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Lift cake by the baking paper and cut the cake into squares.
This is best served warm with ice cream or milk. Perfect for Mother’s day afternoon tea or dessert.
After years of trial and error, I’ve finally got a fail proof chocolate brownie that appears to satisfy the fussiest and hardest-to-please of all critics (aka Miss 8). These brownies are fudgey and chewy, just how we like it. Best served warm with cold milk or ice cream!
- 125g unsalted butter, chopped
- 150g good quality 70% dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 290g caster sugar
- 115g plain flour, sifted
- 35g Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (not essence)
- Pinch of salt
- Cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline, extra chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180C fan forced. Grease a 20cm square cake pan and line with baking paper.
- Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Stir with a heatproof spatula until melted.
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in all your ingredients, except the toppings, until just combined. Pour into the lined pan.
- Sprinkle in your choice of cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline or extra chocolate chips.
- Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out with moist crumbs on the stick.
- Set aside to cool completely before removing from pan.
The secret here is the combined use of dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and with less sugar than normal brownies. This makes it distinctively brownie, not cake.
I hope you will love this as much as we do. These are perfect for school bake sales or bases of entremets. You can easily make more and freeze whole slices in two layers of foil and an air-sealed bag.
I’ve been blessed by friends giving me a whole lot of feijoas recently and our kitchen has been churning out lots of dishes with feijoas – feijoa macarons, feijoa jelly and now of course the much awaited chocolate feijoa cake. I must admit, this was my cunning plot to get J to eat feijoas – for she will not turn down anything that has chocolate in it. I’ve added chocolate ganache in between the two layers and on the outsides of the cake, but you can equally leave that out and serve it as it is, if you have a reason NOT to have chocolate ganache.
This is a moist cake which is best served the next day, and even better the day after that.
Moist Chocolate Feijoa Cake
1.5 cups feijoa flesh
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
185g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, size 8
1.5 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup sour cream (or buttermilk or greek yoghurt)
300g Dark chocolate (62% cocoa)
- Lightly oil or spray two 6″ round tins. Line the bottom of the tins with a round of baking paper. Heat the oven to 180C. You can also bake these as small muffins for the lunch box.
- Cut ripe feijoas in half, scoop flesh out and then slice thinly.
- Measure 1.5 cups of the sliced fruit and place in a bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Cream the softened butter and caster sugar in a small bowl with an electric beater.
- Beat in the eggs one after the other, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Stir in the prepared feijoas, the dry ingredients and add the sour cream, ideally in two batches.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top evenly.
- Bake at 180C for 28 minutes, or until a skewer exits cleanly from the middle of the cake. If you baked them as small muffins, adjust the baking time to 18 minutes.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking papers. Allow to cool completely.
- Make chocolate ganache by placing chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a pan and when it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes before you stir to allow the chocolate to melt gently and smoothly. Leave in the fridge to cool and firm up for 1-2 hours.
- Spread chocolate ganache onto the top of one cake, then place the other bottom side up on top of the first cake. Spread chocolate ganache over to cover the top and sides.
- Garnish as you wish, with berries, confetti sprinkles or chocolate shards.
This is quite a boozy cake – not at all a surprise since there is a whole cup of Baileys in here. What I didn’t expect was how much the children liked this cake (the alcohol has been cooked off so no children inadvertently got drunk from consuming this cake). This cake is quite indulgent and rich, please do serve in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds. I’ve used the special chocolat version of Bailey’s here, by all means use what you have 😉
Ingredients For the Bundt Cake:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Equagold)
- 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup oil (rice bran)
- 1 cup Baileys Chocolat Luxe Irish Cream liqueur
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)
Ingredients For the Toppings:
- 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
- 120ml cream
- 1/2 cup salted caramel
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used a few Valrhona batons, broken into small pieces)
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Prepare a 8-10 cup bundt cake pan by spraying with baking spray. I used a silikomart high cathedral pan here.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 30 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature before any icing is poured on (so that the icing doesn’t get soaked in).
- While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it just comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling. Warm the caramel. Set aside.
- Place a piece of baking paper under the wire cooling rack. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake. Drizzle salted caramel over the cake. Sprinkle the dark chocolate pieces over the top of liquid toppings.
- Serve straightaway if you can’t wait, but it tastes even better the next day.