Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Bars - Gluten Free & Vegan

Author: Bridee   Date Posted:18 September 2018 

Two words that go together beautifully: Chocolate & Hazelnut. We are sold! This recipe is Vegan & Gluten Free (when using the noted amendment), comes together with only a few ingredients and is really simple to prepare. The quicker you make these, the quicker your family, friends or just your tastebuds (we won't blame you for not sharing!) will thank you. 

INGREDIENTS

Base:

Hazelnut Praline Filling:

Chocolate Topping:

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 175°c. Put hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Give the pan a good shake half way through. Transfer hazelnuts to a clean dish towel, folding up the sides to wrap and steam the nuts as they cool. Meanwhile, prepare a 9x5” (23x13 cm) loaf pan with parchment paper on all sides.
  2. Make the base: Put oats/flakes in food processor and process into flour. Add medjool dates and pulse until a coarse meal. Then add coconut oil, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse until well mixed. Empty the mixture into the lined loaf pan, and use your hands to pack mixture down firmly. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out the mixture (if desired). Transfer to freezer while you prepare remaining layers.
  3. Next, use the dish towel to rub the hazelnuts together to remove their skins. You can also use both hands to vigorously rub a palmful of hazelnuts together. When most of the skins are removed, transfer 1/4 cup to cleaned food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, then set aside. Remove an additional 1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts and set aside.
  4. Prepare the hazelnut praline filling: Add the remaining 1 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts to a food processor, alongside coconut oil. Process until it forms a smooth nut butter, giving your food processor breaks and scraping down the sides as required. Add dates, vanilla extract and salt. Process until the mixture is blended into a paste. Transfer filling to a bowl, then fold in the 1/4 cup chopped nuts. Remove loaf pan from freezer, and smooth filling over the base. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to press the filling down firmly. Transfer to fridge.
  5. Melt the chocolate topping: In a double boiler (or heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan), melt chopped chocolate and coconut oil. Whisk together until smooth. Pour on top of the hazelnut praline filling. Give the remaining 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts a rough chop, then sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate. Refrigerate loaf pan until chocolate layer has set (approximately 2-3 hours). Remove and slice into 7 large bars, or 14 smaller bars.

Notes:
-*Make sure dates are fresh and moist/gooey. Otherwise, to rehydrate dates, submerge them in a bowl of hot water for 10-15 minutes until soft, then strain and pat dry. When measuring dates for this recipe, make sure you pack the measuring cup as tight as possible.
-**You’ll roast all 1 3/4 cups of hazelnuts in the oven. 1 1/4 will be used to make the smooth part of the 
praline 
filling, with an additional 1/4 chopped nuts folded in for texture. The remaining 1/4 hazelnuts will be used to sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate.
-***Semi-sweet (50-65%) chocolate recommended. Ensure chocolate 
is dairy-free,
if desired.


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