When I first heard about blogs there were two that I read-Melinda Gallo’s Living in Florence and Clotilde Desoulier’s Chocolate & Zucchini. Melinda’s chronicled her move to and life in Florence, while Clotilde’s is all about food and cooking. Originally from France, she spent a few years in the San Francisco Bay area where she developed a serious interest in food and cooking and went on develop her culinary skills. You’d think that someone who was raised in France might already be a foodie, but it was San Francisco and all its incredible restaurants, food shops and access to produce that did it for Clotilde.
Eight years of blogging and two books later and she’s still going strong. She’s one creative person in the kitchen and I enjoy hearing about what she’s up to. These mignardises (sweet bites that are served with coffee in fancy restaurants) are the first things I made form her book Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. Of course, once I read the main ingredients-hazelnut and chocolate-it was a no brainer for me. These are simple to make and the perfect extra bite to serve after dessert.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bites
1 cup shelled, toasted and husked hazelnuts
3/4 cup confectioners’sugar
A pinch of salt
2 teaspoons honey
3 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate
Combine the hazelnuts, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and make a well in the center. In a small bowl combine the honey with 1 tablespoon hot water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the center of the hazelnut mixture and stir with a fork to combine.
Knead the hazelnut paste for a minute or two, until it comes together and you can form a ball. It will be sticky but it will dry as it chills. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.
Remove the hazelnut paste from the fridge. Scoop out into rounded teaspoons and shape them into small balls. Line them up on a plate and plant a wooden toothpick in the center of each. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place plate in the fridge.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, stirring from time to time. Dip each of the balls into the chocolate, holding it by the toothpick and swirling it gently to coat. Leave the very top uncoated, so the hazelnut paste shows. Let the excess chocolate drip down for a few seconds, an set on parchment paper, toothpick pointing up. Let rest somewhere cool (not in the fridge) for 2 hours, until the chocolate coating is dry. They may be stored for up to 4 days at room temperature in an airtight container. Makes: about 24 pieces