Moving is one of those things that almost everyone despises. Not only does it involve change, which many people fear deeply, but it also involves packing up all of your crap, living out of boxes, and spending several months confused about pretty basic things (e.g., how to drive in a city with more bikers than cars!) That said, I have to confess: I absolutely love moving. I know most might view that as masochistic, but I can’t help it! To me moving to a new place is an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and
have an adventure unlike any other.
Just a few days ago, I left my home of 5 years in San Francisco, California and made the trek up the West coast to my new home in Portland, Oregon. After driving for 10 hours through the rain, sleet, and snow, I deliriously stumbled out of the car and headed towards my new digs. My husband and I had been surrounded by boxes in the days leading up to the big move, so I barely even noticed the pile of boxes and envelopes already waiting for us at our new doorstep. As I dug into the unpacking later that night, though, I was surprised to see how much love had already found its way to us in Portland. We had cards from loved ones in far away places, flowers delivered from family back home, and a shiny new cookbook sent from a close friend in San Francisco. (My friends apparently know the way to my heart well!) Not to mention the various emails and texts that came through during our drive. I know practically no one in this city and yet I felt so loved. But as I slowly worked my way through the cards, packages, emails, and texts I also felt an overwhelming sadness. Saying hello to a new adventure means saying goodbye to those you leave behind. And I think we can all agree that saying goodbye to those you love is never fun to do.
But today we’re going to embrace this happy-sad dichotomy in the kitchen. And, since it also just so happens to be my birthday, we’re going to get a bit gluttonous with it. As its name implies, these decadent bittersweet chocolate hazelnut bars hit both the bitter and the sweet parts of the pallet. They’re loaded with rich chocolate in the crust and the ganache filling and are topped off with toasted hazelnut bits. After all, no birthday is complete without chocolate…on top of more chocolate.
Cheers to new adventures, people you love both near and far, everything chocolate (including dogs), and another year of life!
Bittersweet: Bittersweet Chocolate Hazelnut Bars
- 5 oz of Petite Cocoa Batons from Trader Joes
- ½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips, melted
- ¾ cups of nutella
- ½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup of toasted hazelnuts, ground
Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Let the parchment paper hang over the edge of the pan so you can easily grab it at the end.
Grind or mash the batons into pieces. In a medium size bowl, stir together the batons, the melted chocolate chips, and ¾ cups of nutella. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. While cream is heating, pour ½ cup of semi sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips into a bowl. Once cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes, or until the chocolate is completely melted. Add butter in small pieces and whisk until smooth.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Pour the ganache over the crust and smooth with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with ground toasted hazelnuts. Return pan to refrigerator for 2hours, or until firm.
Once firm, remove from refrigerator and peel off parchment paper. Slice into bars and serve immediately.
If you can’t find the cocoa batons from TJ’s, you can substitute 5 oz of paillete feuilletine. If you do this, you will want to increase the amount of semisweet chocolate that you use by 1-2 ounces.
Store in refrigerator.
You can find hazelnuts toasted and skinned at Trader Joe’s. Otherwise, you can toast and skin them yourself. Here’s how.
Adapted from The Kitchn.