This recipe for chocolate hazelnut pastries is a weekend treat that definitely beats Nutella on toast
Some combinations are no-brainers. Chocolate and hazelnut is just brilliant and has inspired many riffs, perhaps the most well known of which is Nutella spread. A favourite of my kids, it's not something I allow very often, but on holiday recently, I presented them with toothpaste-style tubes at breakfast that they squished with glee.
Back at school and back to Earth with a bump, their breakfast routine returned to normal - porridge rather than chocolate-slathered toast. I did, however, promise to see what chocolate spread inspired baking we could come up with as a weekend treat.
Here's my take on Jewish rugelach pastries. The cream cheese in the dough makes it very easy to roll and the finished pastry is flaky and crisp. The chocolate spread is smeared on the round and then sprinkled with hazelnuts. The round is then cut into 16 triangles, each rolled in on itself to give the distinctive twisted shape.
(makes approximately 32)
110g soft cream cheese
120g cold unsalted butter
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
A 750g jar of chocolate spread was plenty for this recipe with extra left over
200g chopped untoasted hazelnuts
Pulse the dough ingredients together in a food processor six to 10 times, until it comes together but is not overworked.
Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and divide into two balls.
Flatten each ball into a disc shape (approximately the size of a grapefruit), wrap separately in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for one hour (overnight is fine depending on when you want to cook).
When you're ready to make the twists, preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4.
Take each disc and on a lightly floured surface roll to 12in/30cm in diameter and roughly 5mm thick (like you would pizza dough).
Keeping a couple of centimetres from the sides of the circle, cover with chocolate spread (I find a rubber spatula works best), then sprinkle with 100g of hazelnuts per round.
Using a large knife or pizza wheel, cut the circle into quarters and each quarter into four.
Starting with the point of each triangle, roll the pastry in on itself.
Position the twisted pastries on a greaseproof-lined baking tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up before baking.
Bake for 16-18 minutes. The pastry looks a little like it is melting after a few minutes - don't worry, they will hold together, it is simply the fat in the cream cheese melting.
The twists are cooked when golden and crisp. Cool them on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.
Photo: Homemade chocolate and hazelnut pastries. Photograph: Mike Lusmore