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.