No it's Chocolate, Hazelnut, Caramel Squares as inspired by Ireland's favourite TV cook, Rachel Allen. We may love to dislike Rachel's pleasant demeanor, her enviable lifestyle, her gorgeous husband, her stunning home and apparently effortless sense of style, and, and there's not much to say after that. As the small fella and I cuddled up on the sofa on Saturday morning to watch one of the small bits of telly I like, BBC Saturday Kitchen, Rachel's Favourite Food for Living came on afterwards. As soon as I saw the programme was dedicated to chocolate I was bewitched.
This recipe had us both drooling uncontrollably and as soon as it was over I was under orders to make it. Yesterday was a dull and rainy Sunday so I happily got the ingredients together and the three of us got stuck in. It's a good recipe to make with kids due to the chocolate and caramel stages and there's very little actual cooking. Toasting and peeling hazelnuts is a bit of a pain in the bum. Just put them in a roasting dish and cook at 200degreesC until they start turning brown. Then turn them out onto a clean tea towel and put another tea towel on top and rub it all over the nuts (??). Their skins should come off pretty easily. Otherwise buy peeled and roasted ones somewhere. I'll do that next time.
These are great things to have handy at home as they're richer than a cookie, not quite a cake and really indulgent and very impressive looking. I've had to hide them as Son No.2 has declared them to be his only food stuff from now on.
For the chocolate base
50g/2oz cocoa powder
300g/11oz caster sugar
2 free range eggs, beaten
225g/8oz plain flour
For the hazelnut caramel layer
1 x 397g/14oz tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden syrup
75g/3oz caster sugar
125g/4½oz toasted and halved hazelnuts
For the chocolate topping
200g/7oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3 and line the base of or grease, a small Swiss roll tin measuring 20x30cm/8x12in.
2. In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, heat the butter for the chocolate base, stir in the cocoa powder and then the sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs until mixed and then the plain flour.
4. Spread the chocolate base over the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until firm on top.
5. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the hazelnut caramel layer.
6. In a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and then add the condensed milk, golden syrup and sugar. Turn the heat to low and stir continuously for 12-15 minutes until the mixture is dark caramel in colour (do not let it burn).
7. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts. Spread evenly over the chocolate base and allow to cool.
8. Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water. When it is melted, stir in the oil and then pour over the caramel layer and smooth out, leaving to cool and set.
9. To serve, cut into squares. These will keep for a week in an airtight container, if you are insane!
P.S I see Maz is going the way of the food blogger with plenty of recipes and an obvious passion for cooking. She's coming over on Tuesday so maybe she will review these for her blog ...