Anyone Else Miss Ferrero Rochers?
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
While Easter brings visions of chocolate Easter eggs for most, I think of Ferrero Rocher. It was a tradition to always get a box of these little chocolate balls of deliciousness for Easter and Christmas which I loved! Being prescribed a strict GF diet in my mid-thirties means I have a very well-developed taste memory of things that are now on the no-go list and Ferrero Rochers are up there in my top 5 of tastes I miss (along with Vegemite, Anzac biscuits, egg pasta and chocolate croissants).
So when I came across the Faux-Rerro Rocher Hazelnut Bliss Balls recipe from Kate Bradley in the latest Australian Gluten-Free Life magazine I was instantly intrigued. Combine that with a rainy Saturday and I thought I’d give it a shot and take you along for the ride!
I scanned the ingredients list and thankfully had most things in the cupboard including just the right amount of hazelnuts that had been sitting in the pantry waiting for a purpose for some time! There were no instructions on how to roast the hazelnuts but I just put the ones to be roasted on a tray in a 180 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
The filling was super easy to make (once the dates were pitted), I just threw these, the un-roasted hazelnuts, cacao powder and almond butter in the food processor. A quick whiz around and it was done. Mine did come out a little crumbly and was really hard to get to stick into balls so I added a little maple syrup for a bit of stickiness.
The recipe says to take the mixture and “roll into 2.5cm balls” but I found I had to press them together rather than roll as they fell apart on me when I tried that. Pressing was fine though and I could get the roasted hazelnut in the centre no worries.
The coating was a bit of a challenge and probably more due to my skills and my ingredient substitutions rather than the recipe itself! I didn’t have cacao butter but found some coconut butter and figured this should be the same deal. I set up a glass bowl over some simmering water and put the coconut butter in to melt, no probs. As soon as I added the cacao powder and the maple syrup it just became a lumpy mess resembling fudge mixture rather than a smooth dipping chocolate like it was supposed to be! I tried this twice with no success so I ended up taking the easy option and just melting some chocolate I had in the pantry.
After all of this I read the footnotes of the recipe which said “You can use 2 ½ teaspoons of coconut oil in the coating instead of the cacao butter." So I guess Coconut Butter isn’t quite the same thing after all and it pays to read the footnotes! Oh well, after some very fiddly chocolate handling manoeuvres they didn’t turn out too bad.
The last step, roll the coated chocolate balls in the crushed roasted hazelnuts. Key tip – wait till the coating has cooled significantly. I did the first two while they were still quite soft and they ended up with a 2cm thick coating of hazelnuts which I don’t think is the intention! I put them in the fridge for 3 minutes and then tried again, much better.
The Taste Test
After a good hour in the fridge (the recipe says 10 minutes but I wanted to be sure) it was time to give them a try. I’m pleased to say that the taste was definitely there, maybe a bit on the bitter side compared to the real thing given the straight cacao and lack of sugar, but health-wise that’s a good thing I guess! They did lack the texture though – that crunch of the hazelnut wafer and the smooth, almost gooey centre with the hazelnut floating inside (did I mention that taste memory?) It could be possible to modify this recipe a little and perhaps add some Nutella to the mix to give it a little gooeyness (probably not a word but you get what I mean) but if you want something away from processed sugars than this is a great option.
* Read the footnotes first!
* The time estimations always need to be almost tripled, especially for a first go. This ended
up taking me probably 50 minutes of effort spread across a couple of hours.
* These were quite fiddly but the results were pretty good and I would make them again but
probably the day before the house is going to be vacuumed.
* Working with chocolate is messy but delicious!
And here's a page shot so you can give this recipe a go too - let me know how you go!