EOWTTA*: N is for Noisette (which counts because it is a Nut)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

*Eating our way through the alphabet.

This post is late because we’re in holiday mode and went swimming today. Figured we’d better enjoy the warm weather as the forecast is for rain the next few days.

And because my brain is already vacationing, today’s EOWTTA is going to be a short one.

The Noisette, or Hazelnut (I only speak food French), is sometimes also known as a Cob nut or Filbert, depending on variety. (Thank you Wikipedia).

Apparently, hazelnuts may be beneficial in lowering the risks of coronary heart disease. If interested, you can read about it here.

Not that I eat hazelnuts for the health benefits. Frequently, the hazelnuts I consume come covered in copious amounts of chocolate! (Ah, did I hear someone say antioxidants?).

Hazelnuts and chocolate are one of those classic food pairings that have become so ubiquitous – you know, like that chocolate spread, and the chocolate ball and that other chocolate ball. You know what I’m talking about ☺.

So it was pretty much a no-brainer when I decided to make these Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes as our yearly giveaway for Mr. Kitchen Hand’s co-workers. (Didn’t get a chance to photograph the wrapped cupcakes as they were whisked away too early in the morning).

Hope your festive preparations are going well. I may or may not be back here again before Christmas so Happy Holidays to all ☺.

But don’t forget to come back on the 27th for the Daring Baker’s reveal...it’s a fun one this month.

And a cupcake in a pear treeee...(actually, it's a frangipani) 

Hazelnut, Prune, Chocolate and Frangelico Cupcakes
(adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Whisky and Raisin Chocolate Celebration Cake. I don’t have a great fondness for raisins which is why I changed the fruit to prunes. The use of Frangelico is pretty much self-explanatory).

150g prunes, chopped
½ cup Frangelico
120g plain flour
180g ground hazelnuts (couldn’t find hazelnut meal so I ground my own which resulted in some interesting textured bits)
Pinch of cinnamon
400g dark chocolate
225g butter (unsalted)
½ cup warm water
6 eggs separated
240g sugar.

Begin soaking the prunes in the Frangelico a few hours ahead (I did it overnight in the fridge).

Assemble two very huge mixing bowls. Halfway through, I had to tip my batter into a salad bowl because it was threatening to overflow.

Prepare cupcake wrappers, or if baking as a whole cake, double line a cake tin (S.Alexander recommends a 22cm square one).

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Mix together the flour, cinnamon and hazelnuts. Put the chocolate and butter into a saucepan and melt over low heat. Stir until smooth then add the warm water and mix well. (I accidentally missed this step and realised my mistake when I added the flour and found that the batter was way too thick. Luckily, adding the water at that stage seemed to work too.)

Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and “ribbony” in one of the mixing bowls. And the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the egg yolks and mix well. Fold in the flour, mix well, then add in the prunes and frangelico. I found that a sturdy spatula helped greatly with the mixing.

In the other bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Add a little of the egg whites into the batter to “loosen”, then fold in the rest. Spoon into prepared cupcake cases and bake until done - test with skewer. It took about 20 minutes for medium cupcakes, but it depends on the size of your cupcakes and your oven.

I used a simple chocolate glaze to finish, (similar recipe here but I omitted the corn syrup and flavoured it with a tablespoon of frangelico.)


Hungry Dog said...

Chocolate and hazelnuts are divine together. Your cupcakes are cute--I love the photos! Happy holidays, Shaz!!

Hungry Dog

Y said...

Haha I love your 'cupcake in a pear tree'. Happy Christmas to you! I for one *cannot* wait to be in holiday mode too! :)

shaz said...

Thanks Y and Hungry Dog - Happy hols to you both!

Deeba PAB said...

Love your gorgeous cupcakes Shaz...beautiful. Love what went into them! YUM!!
Happy holidays to you...can't wait to see your gingerbread house!

shaz said...

Thanks Deeba :) I made one house by myself, and will let the kids loose on their own houses tomorrow.

Trissa said...

Shaz that sounds delightful! Prunes and chocolate are such a decadent and timeless classic. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Barbara Bakes said...

Sadly, I've only had hazelnuts in Nutella. Your cupcakes look luscious!

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

Yum! The cupcakes look great. Merry Christmas!!

Ellie said...

Merry christmas Shaz! Lovely recipe :)

Snooky doodle said...

these look delicious, I love frangelico :)