It's funny how we change as life progresses. Growing up I would always ask my grandmother to make her famous peach cobbler, buttermilk pie, or lemon pie for my birthday. Chocolate was not a priority. If you knew my grandmother or have the remotest idea of the caliber of cobblers and pies she could pull out of her oven, I think you'll understand why chocolate was of no interest to me.
Still today if given a choice I'll often pick the fruit cobbler or buttermilk pie over chocolate. But for an everyday treat I've come to deeply appreciate a high quality dark silky chocolate in some form or another. This fudgy chocolate is one of those forms I'm loving at the moment. The hazelnut butter makes it rich and fudgy and the crunch of whole hazelnuts and chewiness of dried apricots go really well together. Of course you can use any nut/nut butter you would like here, I've just grown especially fond of making and enjoying hazelnut butter and the pairing of hazelnuts and apricots.
Fudgy Hazelnut Chocolate
Makes 1 small chocolate loaf
Notes: A few things may affect the amount of sweetener needed. You may need less if your hazelnut butter is sweetened or your sweetener of choice is honey or maple syrup. On the other hand brown rice syrup is not as sweet and you'll probably want the full 2 tablespoons.
2 Tbsp. hazelnut butter (love this recipe)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp. honey (or brown rice syrup/maple syrup)
2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
6 dried apricots, chopped (~1/3 cup)
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat melt hazelnut butter, coconut oil, and sweetener of choice, stirring often until mixture is completely liquid and thoroughly combined. Stir in cacao powder and salt, taste, and adjust for more salt or sweetener if needed. Remove from heat and stir in apricots and hazelnuts. (If apricots are not very soft, add them in when melting ingredients).
Cover a small loaf pan* with a sheet of parchment paper large enough to come up the sides of the pan. Press paper down into pan and fold ends over edges of pan making a smooth inner lining as best as possible (it won't be perfect). Pour chocolate mixture into pan and refrigerate until solid. (I freeze it for 15-30 minutes to give it a head start, then move to the refrigerator for another 40 minutes before slicing. Freezing is not necessary if your mold creates a thinner layer.)
Cut slices or cubes with a serrated knife and enjoy right away. Store in the refrigerator.
*Although I have not tried it, alternatively it might work to make chocolate rounds by using a regular-sized or mini muffin pan or mini silicone molds. The chocolate should pop out with the help of a knife once completely set.
Sharing this fudgy goodness with Mark this week over at Javelin Warrior's Cookin' With Luv for his Made With Love Monday series.