Candied Hazelnut Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting


So I made these babies for Thanksgiving. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know that was kind of a while ago. But, I’m updating now! Sheesh! 🙂

And yes, they were absolutely delicious.

So first step, toast your almonds and hazelnuts. My almonds were already toasted, so I toasted the hazelnuts.

Now, in a food processor pulse the nuts together [save 24 pretty hazelnuts for the toppers].

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the processed nuts into the dry ingredients. Cream the butter with both sugars. Beat in the vanilla. Then alternate the flour mixture with the milk until you have a beautifully aromatic and thick batter.

Fill a lined cupcake tin with the batter 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the cupcakes are baking, start on the toppers. Take skewers and really carefully and lightly screw them into the bottom of the hazelnuts. Be very careful because the hazelnuts and split open in this part and will be unusable.

Place them in a line and underneath a heavy book or a cutting board so they will stay in place and then begin on the candy coating! Place newspaper directly underneath the hazelnuts to catch the drippings. So first, prepare an ice bath:

Then bring the sugar and water to a boil stir the mixture until it is clear and then don’t touch it. If you need to you can gently swirl the pan but don’t bring any utensils to it. Note: when working with sugar, only use wood utensils [it’ll make your cleaning efforts much, much easier]. Watch the sugar until it is a medium amber color and then plunge it into the ice bath so as to stop the sugar from burning.

Let it stand for about 10 minutes to thicken. To test you can put a skewer in the caramel and lift a few inches; if a thick drip slowly forms and holds a string, the caramel is ready. If the caramel hardens before you finish all the hazelnuts then just heat the caramel for a few seconds till it gains the right consistency. Dip the hazelnut into the caramel and place back underneath the cutting board and let the caramel drip down onto the newspaper.

Let them stand until they harden [around 5 minutes] and then cut them to the length you want.

Now on to the dark chocolate frosting. Combine cocoa and boiling water until the mixture is a thick and smooth cocoa paste. Mix butter, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy. Add the melted and cooled chocolate into the butter mixture. Then mix in the cocoa mixture. Let me tell you, this is one of the most delicious frostings ever! 🙂

Use an offset spatula and spread the frosting on the cupcakes.

Place the prepared candy coated hazelnuts on top of the cupcakes.

So since this was for thanksgiving I decided to make a display. I already had the caramel ready and decided to make some spun sugar out of it.

I used some roses from our garden and creates this 🙂

Needless to say, it was a very yummy centerpiece for the evening 🙂

I hope you enjoy!

Toasted Hazelnut and Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a food processor, pulse together almonds and hazelnuts until finely ground (do not overprocess, or the nuts will turn into a paste). Into a mixing bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the ground nuts.
  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating well after each.
  • In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. In two additions, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread frosting over each cupcake. Cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and top with caramel-dipped hazelnuts just before serving.
  • CANDIED HAZELNUTS

    INGREDIENTS

  • 24 hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

  • DIRECTIONS

  • Gently insert pointed end of a long wooden skewer into the side of each hazelnut. Place a cutting board along the edge of a countertop; place newspaper on the floor, directly under cutting board.
  • Prepare an ice-water bath. Heat sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Stop stirring; cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Continue to boil, gently swirling occasionally, until medium amber. Plunge pan into ice bath to stop the cooking; let stand until thickened, about 10 minutes. (To test: Dip a skewer in caramel and lift a few inches; if a thick drip slowly forms and holds a string, the caramel is ready.)
  • Dip a skewered hazelnut into caramel, letting excess drip back into pan. When dripping syrup becomes a thin string, secure opposite end of skewer under cutting board. Repeat with remaining hazelnuts. (If caramel hardens before all hazelnuts have been dipped, rewarm it over low heat.) Let stand until caramel string has hardened, about 5 minutes; break each string to desired length. Carefully remove skewers. Candied hazelnuts should be used the same day; store, uncovered, at room temperature until ready to serve cupcakes.

  • DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • DIRECTIONS

    Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days, or frozen up to 1 month, in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again.

    TO ASSEMBLE

    1. Spread frosting on cupcakes
    2. place candied hazelnuts on top of the cupcakes

    Have Fun!

    Mel

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