Christmas is almost here. If your home is anything like mine, you’re baking mostly (entirely) cookies these days and have holiday music playing non-stop in the background. I’m taking a momentary break from all the cookies to bring you some holiday cheer by way of these Candied Hazelnut Meltaways. They are a blissfully creamy confectionary treat easily made from a combination of dark and milk chocolate combined with mild-tasting coconut oil. For the ultimate holiday experience, they’ve been studded with salted caramelized candied hazelnuts for a delicious crunch factor that contrast the silky smoothness of the meltaways perfectly. Coated in snow-white powdered sugar, the results are a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate dessert necessary for celebrating the holidays.
Helpful Tips for this Recipe
*There are two different ways to make the Candied Hazelnut Meltaways: using either untempered or tempered chocolate. You can find the untempered version of this recipe in my latest Feast Magazine Pantry Staples Sweets column on their website. It’s a simple process of combining melted dark and milk chocolate with melted coconut oil and candied hazelnuts. If using this simpler version, I recommend that you enjoy them on the day that they’re made. That is when their ultra-creamy texture is at its absolute best.
*If wanting to keep the meltaways for several days, I recommend using the tempered recipe here on the blog (listed below). It requires the technique of tempering chocolate to a specific temperature in order to set the chocolate firm even when left at room temperature. This meltaway version will set slightly more firm than the untempered version, but it still has a beautiful melt-in-your–mouth texture with each bite. Plus, it’s excellent for gifting and enjoying for several more days!
*To temper chocolate, review the following technique options that fit your learning style best:
Candied Hazelnut Meltaways
Makes 43 squares
½ cup (69g) hazelnuts
3 tablespoons (42g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons (30g) water
8 ounces (227g) 63% bittersweet dark chocolate, tempered* (see tips above)
8 ounces (227g) 46% milk chocolate, tempered* (see tips above)
¾ cup (170g) refined coconut oil, melted
1 cup (106g) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet; bake until lightly toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool, 5 minutes. Wrap hazelnuts in a large kitchen towel and rub them together to remove skins (it’s OK if some skins don’t rub off). Discard skins and place hazelnuts back on baking sheet to cool completely.
Line a baking sheet with a non-stick silicone baking mat or parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, sea salt, and water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally with a heat resistant spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens into a syrup, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the toasted hazelnuts. Continue to stir until nuts are coated and sugar begins to crystallize, about 1-2 minutes. The nuts and the bottom of the pan will develop a coarse powdery white coating.
Place saucepan back over medium-high heat and continuously stir nuts until their crystallized sugar coating melts and caramelizes into a golden amber color, about 3-4 minutes. The saucepan will begin to smoke lightly as the sugar caramelizes. Immediately, scrape out candied hazelnuts onto the prepared baking sheet. With the back of the heat resistant spoon, spread them into an even layer and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, break candied hazelnuts into individual pieces by hand.
Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a heat-resistant bowl, temper the dark chocolate to the final temperature of 89F-91F (32C) and set aside (see tips above for tempering techniques). In a separate heat resistant bowl, temper the milk chocolate to the final temperature of 86F-87F (30C).
Once both chocolates are in temper, pour them into a large bowl and add the coconut oil (make sure the oil is no more than 91F). Whisk together until thoroughly combined, then stir in candied hazelnuts. Pour chocolate-hazelnut mixture into the prepared baking pan. If needed, use a spatula to lightly spread out the candied hazelnuts within the chocolate mixture to create an even distributed layer of nuts. Set in the refrigerator until set just firm enough to cut, 25-30 minutes.
Place the powdered sugar into a large bowl and set aside. Remove meltaways from the baking pan, using the sides of the parchment to lift them out, and set on a clean cutting board. Run a large chef’s knife under hot water to warm the blade, then trim off all four edges (heating the blade will create clean crisp cuts in the chocolate). Continue to reheat the blade, wiping between cuts, then cut meltaways into 1-inch squares. Dredge each meltaway square in powdered sugar to fully coat, then shake to remove the excess powder. Serve and enjoy. Store meltaways in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to one week.
You can also find these Candied Hazelnut Meltaways in my most recent Pantry Staple Sweet dessert column recipe for Feast Magazine! Share your own creations of the meltaways with me on Instagram by tagging @now_forager.