Hazelnut Heaven

Crumbly scones with a swirl of hazelnut spread.

That’s exactly what these scones are.

Aren’t you just getting giddy looking at how thoroughly packed with crunchy hazelnuts they are?

One of my favorite baking books from 2008 was “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who own the Baked bakery in Brooklyn, NY. So I was thrilled to hear that the duo just brought out a sequel to that book. “Baked Explorations” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), which offers 75 more recipes for irresistible homespun baked goods that are equally straightforward to make and yield exceptionally spot-on flavors.

The recipe for “Nutella Scones” caught my eye immediately after I received a review copy of the new book. Made with Nutella, toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder, these beauties bake up as dark as a pan of brownies.

They look like they’d be too rich and heavy to enjoy for breakfast or brunch. But trust me, looks are deceiving. The crumb is actually quite light, crisp and crumbly. And the cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolate without hitting you over the head senseless with it.

Hazelnut spread with the consistency of natural peanut butter.In fact, I purposely played up the hazelnut factor by substituting hazelnut spread for the Nutella, since I happened to have a sample can of Love ‘n’ Bake’s Hazelnut Praline in my pantry. Like Nutella, it is made from roasted hazelnuts and sugar, but the one difference is there is no cocoa in it. Instead, it’s a pure nut spread with the thickness and consistency of natural peanut butter.

With any scone dough, be sure not to over-mix or else you’ll end up with leaden, tough baked goods. Never a good thing.

A generous amount of toasted, chopped hazelnuts gets stirred into the dough, before it is gently patted into a rectangle. A bit of Nutella or hazelnut praline paste is spread on top of the dough, before it is rolled up jelly roll-style. Then, you stand the roll of dough up on one end and gently flatten it down until you have a thick disk. Cut out wedges and bake.

When the scones come out of the oven, heat a little more Nutella or hazelnut praline paste in the microwave until the texture is more pourable, then drizzle over the top of each scone like glaze on cake.

These scones are loaded with hazelnut flavor. They also have that hidden surprise inside of a swirl of Nutella or hazelnut paste.

Take a bite, and prepare to go absolutely nutty for them.

Meet Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito: The authors of “Baked Explorations” will make three Bay Area appearances in the coming weeks to sign copies of their new cookbook.

Meet them at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at Rakestraw Books in Danville; noon Oct. 19 at Williams-Sonoma at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto; and 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at Omnivore Books in San Francisco. All three events are free to the public. The Williams-Sonoma appearance also includes a cooking demo by the authors.

If you can’t make it to any of those events, you can always tune in to Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Just Desserts” on Wednesday nights to watch Eric Wolitzky, pastry chef of Baked, compete in this inaugural series, which is turning out to have way more melodrama than the original “Top Chef” show. So much for pastry making being all sugary sweet, hey?

If you love hazelnuts, you'll love this scone.

Nutella Scones

(Makes 6 to 8 )

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 large egg

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup Nutella or hazelnut praline paste, divided use

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.

Add butter. Use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the butter is pea size and the mixture is coarse.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and cream. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until dough just comes together. Gently and briefly knead dough with your hands. Add toasted hazelnuts and knead gently to incorporate. Flatten dough into a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches (it does not need to be precise) and spread 1/4 cup Nutella or hazelnut praline paste on top in a crisscross pattern. Roll dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long, turn it on its end, and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high. Do not overwork the dough.

Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges and place them on a prepared baking sheet. Bake scones for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool completely. Place baking sheet with parchment still on it on the rack.

Heat remaining 1/4 cup Nutella or hazelnut praline paste in a microwave until pourable, about 10 seconds on high. Pierce tops of the scones a few times with a fork. Use a spoon (or two spoons — one to scoop, one to scrape) to drip warm Nutella or hazelnut praline paste in a zigzag pattern over the tops of the hot scones. Transfer them to a refrigerator to set for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

Most scones have a lifespan of 24 hours or less; however, these scones taste pretty darn good on day two provided you wrap them tightly and store them at room temperature.

Adapted from “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

A Recipe from the “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” Book: Root Beer Bundt Cake

And Another: Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks

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Date: Monday, 11. October 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Bakeries, Chocolate, Food TV, General, Recipes (Sweet)

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20 comments

  1. 1

    OMG, those scones look irresistible! What an awesome combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. 2

    Carolyn this looks amazing!! This would look totally at home at any fine restaurant/ bistro! I am definitely bookmarking this. Is the hazelnut praline readily available from the stores? I will be going to the States for business next month- I could buy it there :)

  3. 3

    Yum. Somehow I checked out that cookbook from the library, but overlooked that recipe. That looks fantastic and now is definitely bookmarked. I had no idea he was on just desserts either. I really have been meaning to tune in.

  4. 4

    Shirley: If you click on the hyperlink for the Love ‘n’ Bake spread, you’ll find a zip code field where you can find stores nearest you that carry the product. For example, in the Bay Area, select Sur La Table stores carry Love ‘n’ Bake items.

  5. 5

    I am so happy that I own this cookbook. I was already planning on making these and now I can’t wait!

  6. 6

    Good Lord…my eyes bugged out when I saw those pics. Yummm!

  7. 7

    Wow, those are full of nuts. They look hearty and full of flavor too. I’m looking forward to checking out the new book!

  8. 8

    I’m so excited to try this out!! I’ve been trying to bake more with nutella and this looks amazing

  9. 9

    Oh wow do these look fantastic! I’m definitely going to look for that Hazelnut Praline — I’ve never seen it!

  10. 10

    Oh boy, those look so wonderfully decadent! It was such a pleasure to finally meet you this weekend, Carolyn. Hope our paths cross again soon!

  11. 11

    Those scones look absolutely fantastic, love the hazelnut flavor!

  12. 12

    fantastic recipe carolyn!! my mouth is drooling

  13. 13

    yummy! hazelnut scones do sound heavenly! I’ve only ever had the usual scones…this is a must-try recipe..love the hazelnut paste on top too :)

  14. 14

    truth a beautiful scone! :)

  15. 15

    OMG! Nutella scones! I love it. I actually love the cookbook New Frontiers in Baking, so I will look forward to the new one.

  16. 16

    I haven’t made scones before, but this recipe and these pics are making me want to take the leap. My sisters and I inherited a family farm about 3 hours from here and I *think* (should I say HOPE) that there’s a hazelnut tree on it. We’re planning to go back in a week or two and I’m going to check it out. In the meantime, I’m excited to try to find some hazelnut butter in the store. Looks yummy!

  17. 17

    Yay, Baked! There are sooo many recipes from this book that I want to make! I love how you substituted the Nutella. I’m not a huge Nutella fan, although I don’t hate it. I’ve been rooting for Eric on TC-Desserts. I’m so happy that he’s made it this far!

  18. 18

    sometimes a breakfast pastry doesn’t fill my belly enough to get me to even midmorning. this, however, would definitely tide me over–it’s an amazing creation, carolyn!

  19. 19

    […] Recipes from the “Baked” cookbooks: Nutella Scones […]

  20. 20

    […] And: Nutella Scones from Baked Bakery […]

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