There's something about the combination of hazelnut and chocolate that is just magical. When I was younger, I adored Nutella, and of course, Ferrero Rochers, a hazelnut praline treat. They were usually reserved for special occasions, however I now wanted to come up with an everyday version that is a little more nourishing and nutrient-dense.
These imitation balls are my vegan (and slightly healthier) version of the real thing. They are made of a hazelnut pulp, maple, and cacao dough squished around a whole hazelnut, then bathed in dark chocolate and dunked in crushed hazelnut pieces. The way the chocolate layer cracks when you bite into it is just marvelous - they're so good, I guarantee you won't want to share! If you're feeling generous, they do make wonderful gifts. Simply pop in a glass jar, label, and give!
This recipe makes a total of twelve large balls, or sixteen smaller ones. Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, not that they'll last that long! If you don't have leftover hazelnut pulp, make your own hazelnut meal by blitzing a cup of raw hazelnuts in a food processor. Look out, though, as they can easily turn into hazelnut butter if you leave them going too long!
1 1/2 cups of hazelnut pulp or hazelnut meal
10 tbsp of nut butter (I used brazil)
6 tbsp of cacao powder
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
2 tbsp of melted cacao butter
2 tsp of ground vanilla bean powder
2 tsp of ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp of sea salt
12-16 whole, raw hazelnuts
250g of 85% dark chocolate
1/2 cup of raw hazelnuts
- In a medium-sized bowl stir together the hazelnut pulp or meal, nut butter, cacao powder, maple syrup, cacao butter, vanilla bean powder, ground flaxseed, and sea salt.
- When well combined and fudgy, take tablespoon-sized amounts and roll around one of the whole raw hazelnuts to form a ball. Place on a plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough is used, then place in freezer to set.
- Chop up your dark chocolate and place in a small glass bowl. Fill a small pot with around a cup of water and bring to a simmer, then place your small bowl on top and stir to melt. Make sure that your bowl is not touching the water. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
- Place the raw hazelnuts in a plastic bag and seal partially. Take a rolling pin and bash the hazelnuts until evenly crushed. Pour into a bowl.
- Take your balls out of the freezer, then dunk each one in the melted chocolate. While still gooey, transfer to the bowl of crushed hazelnuts and shake to completely cover. Carefully remove and set on the plate, and repeat until all of your balls have been coated.
- Return to the freezer for half an hour to set one final time, then transfer to a jar or container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week - keep in mind that these are best enjoyed fresh!