Last week, I received a call from one of my best girlfriends who couldn't wait to share her cupcake idea. Inspired by her 9 year old daughter, Kierstyn, who loves Ferrero Rocher chocolates, she imagined a cupcake with all the decadence of the spherical, golden hazelnut delight. Since Kierstyn's 10th birthday party was coming up it was perfect timing to tackle this treat!
I envisioned a mini hazelnut/chocolate cupcake filled with Nutella, dipped in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with fresh roasted hazelnuts. I found mini gold foil cupcake liners which would represent the iconic Ferrero Rocher wrappers. After looking online for recipes, I soon discovered that these cupcakes are a popular treat that cupcake bakers love. I was pleased to be joining the ranks and decided to start with a recipe I found that I could adapt to minis.
I really wanted to use fresh hazelnuts that I could roast myself and I struck gold at the Whole Foods bulk section. Using a shallow baking pan, I laid out the hazelnuts and placed them in a preheated oven set at 225 for almost 20 mins. I had to be careful not to scorch them! After removing them from the oven, I placed them in the center of a clean dishtowel, twisted up the sides and secured it with a rubber band. Letting them steam like this for about 5 minures loosens the skins and makes it easy to rub them off. My kitchen smelled heavenly with fresh roasted hazelnuts right out of the oven. They were very easy to chop at this point and I even left some whole to use as a surprise in the center of some of the cupcakes.
Now it was time to taste. The cake itself is light and fluffy, which really works well with the Nutella filling and rich chocolate ganache. A heavier cake could be too rich. I highly recommend roasting your own nuts. It imparts a distinct hazelnut flair that pre-roasted store bought hazelnuts can't match.
I hand delivered the cupcakes to Kierstyn, her little sister Kerrigan and her mom Chandra, who each have just as a big a sweet tooth as I do! Happy Birthday Kierstyn!! xo Aunt Caroline, Kierstyn (center) and Kerrigan!