Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe countdown to vacation is officially on! I am T-4 days away from driving up to Maine with my friends, VJ and Adam, and I. can’t. wait.

A lot of the appeal of this trip is that we can all be together while also doing our own things. VJ will be perfectly happy putting together puzzles all day long. I have big plans to spend at least a couple of days foraging and baking. This will be Adam’s first time to Swans Island, but I know he’ll settle in quickly. The great thing about this trip is that everyone can do exactly what they want to do—there are no definite plans or must-do activities. It’s positively blissful.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaThe only thing that’s difficult about being on Swans Island is figuring out the menu. There are no large grocery stores on-island, so all groceries have to be carted over from a market on the mainland. This means that we spent last Saturday night gathered around Adam’s kitchen table planning out every single meal and snack so that we can shop efficiently and thoroughly. Easy enough, right?

WRONG. While Adam and I basically eat everything, VJ is a gluten-free vegan. Granted, she is the least difficult gluten-free vegan ever (ever ever ever), but it’s still a challenge to plan meals that we can all enjoy together. Honestly, it’s simpler to just make two grocery lists and hope for some ingredient overlap. Regardless, I’ve taken it upon myself to make one thing we can all share and enjoy equally. This Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is the result, and it’s freaking fabulous.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaLike most granola, Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola is super easy to make and infinitely more delicious than anything you’ll find in stores. It’s basically like crispy, crunchy Nutella-flavored magic…but gluten-free, vegan, and perfect for sharing with all my favorite people.

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaSalted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaOats and chopped raw hazelnuts are coated in a mixture of oil, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, before being baked until crisp. Once the granola isn’t searing hot anymore, four ounces of dark chocolate are mixed in. This creates some seriously amazing clusters 😍 You could certainly enjoy your granola like that, but I like to wait until it reaches room temperature and stir in a bit more chocolate—textural diversity for the win. Also, all that chocolate 😊😳🍫🍫🍫

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut GranolaI’ve already made two quarts of this granola for our trip. That may seem like a lot for three people, but between breakfasts and snacks, I know it’ll disappear quickly. And how couldn’t it? With crispy oats, toasty hazelnuts, a double dose of chocolate, and a big hit of salt to balance it all out, it’s guaranteed to keep all of us coming back for more.Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola
makes about 5-6 cups

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate, divided

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and chopped hazelnuts. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. Use a fork to whisk in cocoa powder and salt until mixture is smooth. Pour liquid ingredients over oats and hazelnuts. Fold everything together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 40 minutes, stirring at the 15 and 30 minute marks. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes, until it’s warm but can be handled. Scatter 4 ounces of chopped chocolate over the top and stir in. Let cool completely. Stir in remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut PieI’ve only been blogging for a year, but in that limited time I think I’ve given you pie options that will please just about everyone at your holiday table. From a decidedly not-dense Pumpkin Pie to the elegant Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie to a pecan pie completely devoid of corn syrup, I’ve got you covered. Of course, there’s always that one person who doesn’t care for pie, but they can have Pumpkin Icebox Cake. And for that lunatic who doesn’t like sweets…well, give them thirds on stuffing.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieSo, what else could I think to bake into a pie this close to Thanksgiving? Well, an entire jar of Nutella. And tons of toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Chocolate Hazelnut Pie, y’all. I’d say I’m sorry for throwing a wrench into your dessert menu plans, but I’m not 😊

Chocolate Hazelnut PieThis pie, you guys. It’s a thing to behold. It starts the way most do, by rolling out pie dough and fitting it into a pie plate. Pretty standard stuff, but that’s about as classic as this pie gets. Once that pie crust is crimped and beautiful, fill it with the entire contents of a jar of Nutella. Yes, the whole jar (except that spoonful you’re saving for your mid-baking snack). Spread it around with the back of a spoon until it’s in a mostly-even layer. It may not want to stick to the crust at first due to any residual flour, but keep moving the spoon until it does.

Once all that glorious chocolate-hazelnut spread is in the pie crust, put it in the freezer while you make the filling. Toast some hazelnuts in the oven and then envelop them in a clean kitchen towel. Lay the towel on the counter and rub to release the skins from the hazelnuts. This step doesn’t have to be done perfectly, so don’t stress yourself out. If some hazelnuts still have a bit of skin (or a lot of it), they just do. More of the skins will come off when you chop the nuts, but again, don’t make yourself crazy. They’re going in a pie with a bunch of chocolate and Nutella. Nobody’s going to notice an errant fleck of hazelnut skin.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieRemove the Nutella-filled pie crust from the freezer and scatter the chopped hazelnuts over the top. Throw in a cup of semisweet chocolate chips, too. And then drown everything in a gooey mixture of dark corn syrup,* sugar, eggs, melted butter, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Brush the exposed crust with milk and bake the pie for 50-55 minutes, until golden. And then wait for a seemingly never-ending few hours until you can have a slice.

*Note: Dark Corn Syrup is not the same as High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you still don’t care to use it, I’ve written a substitution in the notes below.

Chocolate Hazelnut PieChocolate Hazelnut PieA few words of warning about this Chocolate Hazelnut Pie. 1) It’s a bit gooey and won’t slice completely cleanly, but it isn’t a challenge by any means. 2) This pie is pretty sweet and is best served in small slices. A touch of unsweetened or barely sweetened whipped cream couldn’t hurt. 3) Ignore my suggestions about tiny slices because this nutty, chocolaty pie is a Nutella lover’s dream. Thanksgiving is one day per year. Eat your Nutella-filled pie with gusto and be thankful that it exists. I know I am.

Now, someone come take the last 3/4 of this pie away from me before I eat the whole thing.Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

Chocolate Hazelnut Pie
makes 1 deep-dish (or standard*) 9-inch pie

1 1/2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
1 13 ounce jar Nutella (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup dark corn syrup*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
milk, for brushing
whipped cream, for serving

Place oven racks at the top and bottom positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lay hazelnuts in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes. Check to see if they are fragrant and the skins are starting to split. If they aren’t, toast an additional 1-2 minutes. Allow the warm hazelnuts to rest for 2-3 minutes before pouring them onto the middle of a kitchen towel on a flat surface. Fold the kitchen towel over the hazelnuts and then use your hands to rub the towel until the skins release from the hazelnuts. Discard the skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Transfer dough to a deep dish (or standard) pie plate. Trim the excess to 1/2-inch and crimp the edges. Freeze crust for 5 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to spread the Nutella in an even layer over the bottom of the pie crust before freezing for at least 15 more minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dark corn syrup and granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking completely after each addition. Stir in apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and salt. While whisking constantly, drizzle in melted butter.

Remove pie crust from the freezer and lay it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts and semisweet chocolate chips over the layer of Nutella. Pour liquid mixture over the top.* Brush any exposed crust with milk. Bake pie on the bottom rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Move pie to the top rack and very loosely tent with foil. Bake an additional 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes, until golden. The filling should jiggle a little when it comes out of the oven, but will solidify within ten minutes.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve in small slices with whipped cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Notes:

1. A deep-dish pie plate is recommended for this pie, but a standard will work. If you use a standard pie plate, you may have some leftover filling.
2. If you do not wish to use dark corn syrup, you may make a substitute with molasses and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or mild honey). Pour 1/4 cup molasses in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup. Add 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Stir. Continue with recipe as written.
3. If you are using a standard pie plate, you may have some leftover liquid mixture.