24K Gold Hazelnut Bars
This is an easy candy recipe that dazzles and brings a little bling to your holiday gatherings. The bars take just a few minutes on the stovetop, and you can walk away and put your feet up while they cool. Smear some melted white chocolate over the cooled tops, sprinkle with more hazelnuts, then sparingly apply some edible 24K gold leaf.
If the price of edible gold makes you balk, edible silver leaf is also available; apply using tweezers and light touch so that the precious metal retains a bit of flutter (when pressed down flat, silver leaf and aluminum foil look disappointingly similar). For less festive occasions, leave the precious metals off all together—the bars are beautiful, even without the bling.
Adapted from Rebecca Firth’s book, The Cookie Book (Page Street Publishing Co., 2018)
What You Will Need
- 9-inch Square Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Heavy-Bottom Saucepan
- Offset Spatula
- Medium Heat-Proof Bowl
- Medium Saucepan
- Edible Gold or Silver Leaves
- Cutting Board
- Sharp Knife
- 2 tbsp. (1 oz.) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 1⁄2 cups (10 oz.) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1⁄4 cup Frangelico
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups toasted hazelnuts (4 oz.), coarsely chopped, divided
- 1 1⁄4 cups (5 oz.) good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
- Edible gold or silver leaf, for finishing
- Grease and line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, letting a bit of excess paper hang over all four of the pan’s edges. Set aside.
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the sweetened condensed milk, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and butter. Set the pan over medium-low heat and whisk continuously until the mixture is smooth and melted, 4–5 minutes. Stir in the Frangelico, vanilla, salt, and 1 cup hazelnuts, then pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the surface, then set the dish aside at room temperature until te mixture is completely cooled and set, at least 3 hours.
- In a medium, heat-proof bowl, add the white chocolate and shortening. Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the water touch the bowl and avoid letting the water boil). Stir the white chocolate mixture constantly until completely melted and smooth. Pour the white chocolate over the surface of the dark chocolate layer, again smoothing with a clean offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts evenly over the white chocolate; let rest at room temperature until set, about 1 hour.
- When you are ready to garnish the bars, get a small, clean, paint brush or pastry brush, a glass of water, your edible gold or silver leaf, and a pair of clean tweezers. Gold and silver leaf will stick to your fingers, so use the tweezers to pull off small pieces of the foil, arranging the, sparingly across the surface of the white chocolate. Dampen your brush slightly and dab it over the gold leaf to spread it around.
- Use the overhanging parchment paper to pull the cooled baked good out of the baking dish and transfer it to a cutting board. Using a long sharp knife, cut into 15 thin bars, wiping the knife clean between cuts as needed. Serve immediately, or wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.