Sometimes you start with one particular recipe and end up going off on a slightly different tangent. That’s what happened with these Chocolate Hazelnut Squares. After a comment by Sarah on my Lemon Traybake, I wandered over to Val’s Kitchen and took a look at the Hazelnut Caramel Slice that she made from a Rachel Allen recipe, dug out the book and started baking.
But the day was getting late, I was also making dinner at the same time (may as well do all the day’s washing up together!) and tastings of the raw base mixture – a brownie-style batter – were great so I decided to stop there. Rather than adding the caramel and chocolate layers, I roasted and chopped 125g of hazelnuts (being of a naturally lazy bent, I don’t bother de-skinning them), pressed them into the chocolate base and left it at that.
Val’s look amazing but when you’re taking something to work, you don’t want to be facing something so rich every day! I’ve started making these Sweet Treats a week before I post the recipe so I can get an idea of how they last. This recipe is very quick, can be made in one medium-sized saucepan and sits quite happily in a tin – Husband permitting – for the week. My Polish Colleague gave them eight out of ten!
Chocolate Hazelnut Squares
Butter – 200g
Cocoa powder – 50g
Muscovado or dark brown sugar – 300g
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Eggs – 2, beaten together
Plain flour – 225g
Hazelnuts – 125g
Preheat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F and grease the base and sides of a 20 x 30cm (8 x 12inch) Swiss roll tin.
Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet with edges – you don’t want to lose them in the oven! – and roast in the hot oven until you can smell them. Cool and roughly chop.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. While still on the heat, add the cocoa and sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before beating in the vanilla extract and eggs. Sieve the plain flour over and mix well. Spread into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Using your hand, press them into the chocolate base.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares when cold.