Jun 7, 2013

Boozy Fudgy Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Brownies

I promised you brownies and that's what you're getting. Lucky you. Really.
These are my way of not feeling guilty for throwing away a very large amount of vodka infused hazelnuts. The homemade hazelnut liqueur that I posted yesterday calls for straining the final liquid and discarding the rest. Ha. Like that was gonna happen.

Almonds, walnuts? Maybe. But I don´t throw away good hazelnuts, pistachios or cashews. Because when I tasted the leftover nuts, they still had a lot of flavor. So between wondering if I should let them steep until there was no flavor left, I decided to use them, pretty much the same way the homemade raspberry liqueur is still with the berries inside.

The funny thing, for me, 'cause I don't think you'll loose any sleep over it, is that I can throw away a lot of food sometimes for different reasons, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it with the hazelnuts.
So I had decided that I would either use them to make this hazelnut loaf cake again, or the chocolate hazelnut mini bundts. Problem solved.

But then I remembered one of the best cakes I ever made, from Alice Medrich, with chocolate and hazelnuts, which still remains at the top of my list to this day. 
And as I lay awake one morning, thinking about blog stuff, like I always do, which is ironic because I devote to it more thoughtful thinking than I do to other things sometimes, like my job for instance, I decided I would whip up a simple brownie recipe together and substitute some of the flour for ground nuts, sort of like this chocolate almond torte.

So, fifteen minutes later, I was downstairs measuring butter and chocolate, and from there it was like I was following an already written recipe. The first try produced some of the best brownies I have ever made or tested, a thought which was later reinforced by dozens of guests at this party and a part of my family for whom I made these two nights ago.

I was so proud of myself, after all I had come up with the recipe from scratch in fifteen minutes.
Well, 25 years and 15 minutes, because after all, nothing happens overnight, and my understanding of pastry and ability to change recipes or come up with new ones, is the result of years and years of baking, reading recipes and being interested in food.

So here are the brownies, which incidentally are gluten free, because after the hazelnuts, the amount of flour needed was so small I thought it was a good moment to use the very neglected rice flour in my pantry.
You can substitute ground nuts, any kind, for the boozy ones here. 
And if you freeze these fudgy brownies, I'm not responsible for you eating the entire thing directly from the freezer, with the door open.


You can substitute regular ground nuts (sans alcohol) in the recipe. And add 2 Tbs of your favorite liqueur.

Makes 9 bars


100g (3.5oz) unsalted butter
240g (8.5oz) dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, room tº
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup rice flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup ground hazelnuts, from the liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Processed leftover hazelnuts from the homemade liqueur


Preheat oven to 350ºF /180ºC. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper hanging over two sides, for easier unmolding. Or simply spray or butter it.
Melt butter and chocolate in a large bowl. I use the microwave, 30 seconds at a time stirring well in between.
Add sugar and eggs, one at a time, mixing very well but not beating. Add rice flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Add nuts and vanilla and mix just until blended.
Spread on prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, until it is slightly puffed and dry to the touch. Don´t overbake.
Cool on wire rack completely. For easier cutting, put 30 minutes in the fridge.

You can keep them at room tº for a few days, in the fridge for a few weeks, or freeze them.

Today's 5 related recipes worth looking at:

Hazelnut Shortbread from The Purple Foodie
Gluten free Brownies from Elana's Pantry
Caramelized Squash with Sage Hazelnut Pesto from Food52
Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies from Completely Delicious
Chocolate Hazelnut Pots de Creme from Oh Ladycakes


  1. Chocolate and hazelnut are so perfect together and this looks absolutely AH-MAZING! Happy Friday!

  2. Omg! Now I would trade anything for such brownie! :)

  3. Oh my goodness, Paula. Maybe your brownies are what the angel at the pearly gates of heaven delivers to newcomers. Seriously delish! And a recipe (another one!) that goes in my want to make file =)

  4. I like your 25 year brownies :-)

  5. I am a brownie lover and these look super!

  6. I usually don't care for nuts in brownies however these are a total exception. And 25 years plus 15 minutes is so true. Your experience and skills shine through with every one of your incredible recipes.

  7. holy crap these look amazing!

  8. These brownies look so fudgy and irresistible!

  9. Boozy brownies-doesn't get better than this! I like your re-purposing of the hazelnuts and they do look amazing! Off to check out the liqueur;-)

  10. Yes lucky us! =D
    You won't believe me but I have 1 packet of hazelnuts left that my mother had send me from europe and I was already planning what to make of them. Your recipe is going into the lot! =)

  11. I was sold on the name alone - looking at the pictures I'm 100% in!

  12. I think i just found the correct recipes for my vaccum frozen hazelnut....
    I would made this with my niece for sure !

  13. Paula,
    uh, hello?! these look amazing! so in 24 years, I will be able to understand pastry better and have the ability to change recipes or come up with new FABULOUS ones like this?! :) :P
    In the short time I have been baking, I have learned so much. . I love that our learning and knowledge can only grow and get better!
    LOVE LOVE LOVE these brownies!

  14. Yes, you have my attention. These brownies sound incredible...and I think if I ground the hazelnuts fine enough, picky Bill would give them two thumbs up. I know I would!

  15. I like the texture of your brownies, so fudgy, and I guess hazelnuts gave a lot of moist. Good idea to use rice flour...!!!

  16. These look and sound incredible! I absolutely love the sound of your homemade hazelnut liqueur too, I really want to give that a go!

  17. These brownies are jam packed full of everything good :D


  18. How fudgy! These brownies look great!

  19. Oh wow. These look INCREDIBLE Paula! Hope that you're feeling a bit more rested today. Great idea to use the infused/soaked nuts for these brownies. I can imagine how incredible they must be (I need to make that homemade liqueur! Double goodness!) xx

  20. Love it! Thanks for recipe :)

  21. I'm in love with these brownies! All of those delicious nuts folded into dark, fudgy chocolate--yum!

  22. you had me at fudgy. You really did. And then you said chocolate in the same sentence. You are a girl after my own heart. These look absolutely delicious. I can only imagine the depth of flavor the liquor gives these. I am so intrigued and would love to try to make these.

  23. Hah! I was wondering if there was any use for the macerated hazelnuts! This is brilliant, Paula... and I do love a fudgy brownie... Again, so sad I need to wait 4 weeks to make these! ~ David

  24. Ahhhh, Paula, you had me at boozy. And at fudgy. And at dark chocolate. In other words, I love everything about these brownies! And girl, I spend way more time thinking critically about my blog and celebrity gossip than my job, hands down. I can tell you what the hottest thing in food blogging is and what Angelina Jolie had for breakfast, but I don't give the greatest legal advice. Oh well!

  25. I spent a ridiculous amount of time (and money) to hunt down hazelnuts, so I totally hear you on not throwing them away. I probably won't infuse them in vodka BUT that won't stop me from making these brownies!

  26. Oh hazelnut fudgy boozy deliciousness! Yummy!

  27. I love hazelnuts and don't blame you for not wanting to waste them, especially when they turned into such a decadent dessert! Unfortunately I find myself wasting food sometimes but I try so hard not to. Things just get away from me on ocassion.

  28. Paula, these brownies look like a wonderful "adult" kind of treat, you already know that I love to bake with hazelnuts and I would certainly love to have a good big taste of these brownies, the recipe sounds fabulous!

  29. Hi,
    You can call me Liz,
    I'm a newbie,
    I don't understand this "Add sugar and eggs, one at a time, mixing very well but not beating." What do you mean with "...but not beating"?
    Thank's in advance!

    1. Hi Liz! It means that you don´t have to incorporate air into them, or as little as possible. So you need to mix it very well, no streaks of whites showing, but don´t beat it because the batter will rise while cooking, and that will take a lot of the fudge-like consistency of the brownies. Hope it helps!

  30. mm these sound so good, thanks for posting up this recipe. Will give these a try.



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