Food

Hazelnut Espresso Millionaire Bars

Simple and easy-to-find ingredients are transformed into a decadent indulgence.

Simple and easy-to-find ingredients are transformed into a decadent indulgence

(Photography by Michael Gozum)

Perfect as little nibbles to satisfy a sweet craving and also beautiful when plated as a full dessert, either way, these are the ultimate porch-present to let someone know you’re thinking of them. Roasted hazelnuts are crushed and transformed into a robust and wheat-free crust. Topped with a simple homemade caramel and a luscious dark chocolate ganache, each with just a hint of espresso, it’s obvious why this dessert was named after its rich qualities. 

Hazelnut Espresso Millionaire Bars

You can often find skinned hazelnuts in bulk stores or baking aisles, but they come with a premium price tag. To roast and skin them yourself, arrange raw hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking tray and bake them at 350F degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are fragrant and the skin is slightly blistered. Immediately scatter them over a clean kitchen towel and roll it into a log, let them stand for 1 minute, then roll the towel back and forth while rubbing to remove loose skin. Don’t worry if not all the skin is not removed.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups roasted, skinned hazelnuts
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk

Caramel:

  • 1 300 mL can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp instant espresso powder

Ganache:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup 35% whipping cream
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • Roasted, skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Flaked sea salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a straight-sided 8-inch (2-litre) baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Set aside. 

Crust: 

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until they are very finely chopped. Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened (do not puree into a paste). Add the egg yolk and pulse until the mixture begins to clump. 

Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan, and using wet hands, firmly press it into an even layer at the bottom. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until it’s evenly golden brown and no longer appears wet. Cool completely.   

Caramel: 

Combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar and espresso powder in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, whisking, until smooth; bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until mixture registers 220F degrees on a candy thermometer. (The candy thermometer should be positioned on the side of the pan, with the tip submerged in the mixture, but not touching the bottom of the pan as this will result in an inaccurate temperature reading.) 

Very carefully, pour caramel over the cooled crust. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or until the top is set. 

Ganache: 

Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small pot over medium high heat until steaming, then pour over chocolate. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour over caramel and spread to edges. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firmly set and chilled through. 

Use the parchment paper as handles to transfer to a clean cutting board. Trim all sides to make perfectly straight edges (save the scraps for snacking!). Cut into bars or squares. For full-sized dessert portions, cut into 6 equal strips, then cut through the centre in the opposite direction, to make 12 bars. Alternatively, cut into 6 strips in one direction, and 4 in the other to make 24 bite-sized portions. Be sure to wipe the knife clean in between cuts to preserve the beautiful layers. Finish the bars with a liberal sprinkle of flaked sea salt. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: 12 bars or 24 squares


Sabrina is owner and Chief Culinary Officer of SF Creative Culinary Services, an all-inclusive content marketing agency, based just outside Toronto serving food & beverage brands all over the world. Follow along on Instagram @sf_creativeculinaryservices

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