Monday, February 19, 2018

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bars

Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bars - made February 10, 2018 from The Kitchn
Have you ever heard of feuilletine? Props if you have, even more if you know how to spell it correctly without googling it. Feuilletine is made of crushed crepes Dentelle. What are crepes Dentelle, you might ask? Think of them as really thin, crispy crepes crossed with really thin crispy sugar cones. In other words, delicious. Feuilletine look like broken bits of cornflakes but please try the real thing because they’re not cornflakes and so you’ll understand why I’m disproportionately thrilled that I finally found the name of these things that made up with crispy praline wafer layer in the Hazelnut Bliss cake from La Patisserie. I don’t think they’re the same as what was in my friend’s wedding cake long ago but they deliver an amazing crispy texture. Like a Ferrero Rocher but better. 

Once I discovered the name of this ingredient that just makes a dessert, I had to look around for recipes that use it. Surprisingly, Pinterest didn’t yield the usual treasure trove of options I’d come to expect. On the contrary, use of feuilletine was not only somewhat limited but also seemed mostly from outside-the-US blogs and websites. Has it not caught on that widely in the United States? Must I now make it my mission to make sure everyone knows what they’re missing? Fine. Let’s start with this recipe.
The bottom layer couldn’t be simpler. Melted chocolate, warm Nutella and feuilletine. What you will find amazing (or was that just me?) is that, similar to how I mix in rice krispies for my Nutella crunch topping, the feuilletine doesn’t get soggy but remains crisp. No lie. Then the ganache is also easy to make: chop the chocolate, heat the cream, pour over, whisk until melted, add the butter to also melt. Although I have to confess, I screwed up slightly somewhere. I think my ganache mixture might’ve been a little too hot when I added the butter because no matter how much I whisked the mixture, the butter separated out slightly. Which is a sign the mixture is too hot and the butter didn’t emulsify properly with the chocolate and cream. 
My sins were apparent when I chilled the bars to set and the slightly separated butter formed its own little pockets of solid butter sitting on top of the ganache. Eek. It isn’t the end of the world though. I scraped off the most obvious bits and tried to smooth out the top so my ganache sins weren’t readily apparent. Even with my doctoring, this still tasted really good. As in, my coworkers said “OMG, these are really good” and “get these away from me or else I’ll eat them all” good. 
If you can’t find feuilletine in your local store (I’ve never seen them, even in uppity high end food specialty shops), try amazon. I bought a small-ish container to try it out but I may need to re-order in larger quantities. My feuilletine obsession has begun.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
10 ounces (about 1 cup) Nutella
5 ounces (about 2 cups) paillete feuilletine

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the long sides of the pan to act as handles.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate and Nutella and stir until smooth. Fold in the feuilletine until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Use a sheet of wax paper to press the mixture into a smooth, even layer. Chill in refrigerator while making the filling.
  3. Filling: Place the chocolate chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let mixture sit for 2 minutes to melt chocolate. Add the butter pieces and whisk until ganache is very smooth.
  4. Pour the ganache over the crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Transfer to the refrigerator until set and firm, about 1-2 hours. Slice into bars and garnish with whole toasted hazelnuts if desired. Serve chilled.

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