A rich chocolate fudge sauce flavored with toasted hazelnuts. It makes a wonderful holiday gift!
We’ve been dealing with a bout of sickness in our house this week. First it hit the baby, and then me, hard. My husband got some of it too, but I always seem to get the worst of it and this head cold was no exception. I had to put pretty much everything on hold this week, which isn’t easy with a 7 month-old, and with Christmas just a few weeks away.
I love Christmastime and all the fun and giving that goes with it. This year however, I’ve decided to keep my holiday to-do list short (thankfully, for this sick momma). Only a few parties, gift exchanges with family instead of gifts for everyone, and no pressure to buy gifts for people just because. I’m aiming for as little stress as possible.
When I do need a little gift for someone, one of my favorite things to do is give them something edible that I’ve made. It’s usually something small and simple, but special since I’ve taken the time to make it myself.
I think that a fudge sauce, packaged in a jar with a little festive string, is a perfect (and easy!) gift for just about anybody. I wanted to do something more than just regular chocolate fudge sauce, and peppermint seems to be so overdone this time of year, and so that’s how this hazelnut variation was born. I took a traditional fudge topping recipe, and simply added a step to steep some toasted hazelnuts in the cream. That turned out to not have enough flavor for me, so I decided to leave the hazelnuts in the sauce.
The result is a rich and chunky chocolate hazelnut fudge sauce, excellent for serving hot over vanilla ice cream. My husband and I have been enjoying little sundaes after dinner while we watch TV, and I’m afraid I don’t have any fudge sauce left to give away. Oh well, I’ll just have to make another batch.
baking tip:How to skin hazelnuts
The easiest way — Toast hazelnuts in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a tea towel and use the towel to rub the skins off (it will discolor the towel). Unfortunately, it’s hard to remove all of the skins with this method.
The best way — Bring a large pot filled halfway with water to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Add hazelnuts and boil for 2-3 minutes until skins are loose (watch pot to make sure it doesn’t boil over). Rinse until cold water and rub skins off with your fingers. Blot dry with paper towels, then toast in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. While this method removes all of the skins, it is more time consuming.
Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Sauce
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, and very finely chopped
- 1 cup (235 ml) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) light corn syrup
- 6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream just until steaming. Remove from heat, add the hazelnuts and cover. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Return the saucepan (with the cream and hazelnuts) to medium high heat and add the sugar, cocoa powder, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and add the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
- Serve warm over ice cream. Store sauce in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.