I love a cup (or 3) of coffee a day. I also love nuts, whether almonds, hazelnuts, macademia or walnuts in cakes and desserts. These little chocolate treats will be the perfect companion to your cup of coffee too (or tea I suppose). Or if you are wondering what perfect gluten free chocolate snack to take to your friends! In any case, have a look at this very indulgent treat recipe right now…

Gluten free chocolate and hazelnut sponge squares

Ingredients

300g of egg whites
300g of caster sugar
150g hazelnuts
150g ground almonds
200g dark chocolate
300g double cream

Method

  • Heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius + Cover 2 baking trays with baking parchment
  • in a third baking tray, place the hazelnuts and roast for 5-10 minutes
  • blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor into a powder
  • mix the halzelnuts with the almonds
  • Whisk your egg whites until they reach soft peaks
  • add your caster sugar in, a table spoon at the time, wisking well in between (about 30 seconds each time. be patient)
  • when all the sugar is added, drop the almonds and hazelnuts in and fold in carefully.
  • divide the mixture in betwen the 2 baking trays with parchment and spread thinly and evenly. It’s helpful to have a cranked (or angled palette knife to help you here.
  • bake for 10-12 minutes until lightyl golden. remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
  • make your chocolate ganache by following this method.

Assembling your chocolate treats

  • when your ganache has cooled down and thickened to a spreadable consistency and your almond sponge is totally cold, peel off the baking parchment from the bottom sponge and spread the ganache over.
  • Top with the second sponge. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to set 30 minutes.
  • Cut into squares.
  • Store in an airtight box. These will keep for 2 weeks.

More help, tips and ideas

If it’s your first time coming across words like meringue, ganache or other terms above, here are additional cake making and patisserie tips you might find useful.

how to make gluten free meringue based sponge

As the name says, this sponge is made from a meringue. What’s a meringue? A meringue is a mixture of egg whites which have been whisked up, into which you add caster sugar. You can use one of 3 methods to make meringue: French (bien sur!), Italian or Swiss. The methods and temperature of adding the sugar into the egg white differ in each style of meringue. There are benefits into each type of meringue but for this recipe, I have used the French meringue method as it’s the easiest one. Having tested this recipe myself, I can promise you French meringue works as long as you take your time adding the sugar in small quantities.

Here’s how to make French meringue.

You can use fresh egg whites (preferably at room temperature) or pasteurised egg whites. I use 2 chicks egg whites cartons a lot. you can find them in most supermarkets.

All you need to know about chocolate ganache

Use the right chocolate

The quality of the chocolate you use is important. You need chocolate with no added ingredients (whether oils, too much sugar like some of the confectionary brands, and not nuts or dried fruits….).I use mainly Callebaut Belgian chocolate but brands like Lindt, Meunier or Waitrose esential cooking chocolate work also very well.

The recipe on this page uses dark chocolate. If you prefer using milk chocolate, adjust the quantity of creme to equal weight to your chocolate.

Use one of these methods to make ganache

Traditional method – chop your chocolate in very small pieces. Boil your cream. Pour it over your chocolate. Leave to stand 20 to 30 seconds then gently mix together until you get a smooth and shiny mixture.

Microwave ganache method – I use this method a lot when I run my Chocolate Retreats, simply because it’s easier than having 10 or 12 people around a hob, peering into a small pan. pour the cream and chopped chocolate in a plastic bowl. heat up in bursts of 30 seconds on half power and mix well in between each burst, until you get a smooth and shiny mixture.

after this you’ll need to leave your ganache to cool and thicken to a spreadable texture. Depending on the quantity you make, it might take between 1 and 4 hours for this to happen. If your ganache gets too cold you can warm it up gently, in small bursts in the microwave. I like to leave ganache to cool down on the kitchen counter. I know some methods tell you to chill it in the fridge but I find this difficult to control and get to a smooth result.

 

Spreading your ganache between your sponge layers

Ganache should be relatively easy to spread. Just try not to lift your knife of palette knife up, as the ganache layer might lift off …with some of the sponge. work it onto the sponge with a slight back and fourth mouvement. Once you’ve got yourself a good angled palette knife, you can make yourself a great tool kit to create lots of chocolate decorations and gifts, with only 8 pieces. I have listed them here with places to buy from too.

8 items is all your need to create fantastic chocolate decorations and gifts – download your free guide now

Cutting and finishing perfect chocolate snacks

To create the perfect squares. use either a long serrated knife or kitchen knife. You might want to warm up the blade under hot water (and wipe it dry). It can really help cutting neat portions.

Finally, you can dust them with a little icing sugar to finish them.

What other style of recipes would you like to see next?