The Sauce: Dipping Chocolate Sauce – Pure chocolate with an addition of a small amount of shortening to create sheen, this sauce is used for dipping chocolates. The trick is tempering the chocolate so once set it forms a hardened coating that snaps when you bite it.
Bumpy Christmas stockings
Also called filberts, hazelnuts are a spherical nut rich in flavor and often used in confectionaries. I love it as a flavor background in hot chocolate. My early memory definitely takes me back to my childhood southern California Christmases when we children would wake up to bumpy stockings filled with mixed nuts. A nutcracker was placed in a conspicuous location so on Christmas morning we could crack open our cache. Dad always helped me with hazelnuts because I had difficulty freeing them from the hard round shell. I had to use both of my little hands to to bust open the shell and the nut would fling across the room. He would wrap his hand around the end holding the nut to save it from ‘projectiling’ away while I grunted, cracking open the shell.
Crunchy with a distinctive flavor enhanced by roasting, these nuts are great with chocolate in Nutella spread. Made into a hand dipped candy, their a great flavor complement with other chocolates. The centers have a firmer texture. I love to top them with a small chip of fresh hazelnut for a little crunch reminding me of those Christmases long ago.
This is part 2 of a 4 part series, ‘Chocolate Covered’. Part 1, Peanut Butter Balls. Part 3, Biscoff Cookie Butter Mounds. Part 4, Peppermint Patties. For more information about dipped chocolates, click here. You might also like Chocolate Truffles.
2011 AniversaRecipe – Icebox Butter Cookies
Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Squares
Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Inactive Time: 1 Hour | Cook Time: 3 Minutes | Yield: 24 Squares | Level: Moderate
- 1 cup Nutella
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 oz high quality chocolate, finely shredded
- 1 Tbsp shortening
- 24 small broken hazelnut pieces
- 2 dozen paper candy cups, optional
Special Equipment – heat proof bowl
1 Place the Nutella, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl and stir until well combined.
2 Add the sugar 1/3 cup at a time mixing well after each addition. The mixture should be fairly stiff. Add more sugar as needed.
3 Form about 24 squares and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Place in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour.
4 Melt the chocolate and shortening in a heat proof bowl perched over a saucepan with simmering water until most of the chocolate is liquid. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Take the bowl off the heat and continue stirring until the residual heat melts the remainder of the lumps. (See note below about tempering.)
5 Take the chocolate hazelnut squares out of the fridge. Using a toothpick, dip each one in the dipping chocolate sauce allowing the excess chocolate to drip off and place back on the baking sheet. Top with a hazelnut chip.
6 Place squares in the fridge for a few minutes to set. Serve in small paper candy cups if desired.
Tempering chocolate prevents the melted chocolate from becoming too hot. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat most of the chocolate is melted but there are still bits or small lumps of chocolate in the bowl. Take the bowl off the heat and continue to stir allowing the residual heat to melt the small lumps which, at the same time, reduces the temperature of the melted chocolate. This prevents the chocolate from getting too hot.
When dipping if there is any leftover chocolate sauce, grab some plastic spoons, dip and decorate for hot chocolate stirring spoons.
- Use dark or milk chocolate or dip half of the squares in dark and half in milk.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: December 14, 2012