Molten Nutella Bouchons with coffee whip and hazelnut bark

So these were my entry to the Feed Feed’s holiday Nutella recipe contest! Basically we just had to make a recipe that featured Nutella. Initially, I wanted to go in with this super complex chocolate-hazelnut-coffee petit gateau that resembled a zen garden. BUT after looking at what kinds of recipes the Feed Feed featured(i.e. more relatable and doable as opposed to a dessert you would take 12 hours to make), I shifted gears away from the huge bells and whistles kind of dessert, and went in with something that was a tinge bougie, but still fun and approachable: bouchons. Bouchon is the French word for “cork”, and it also refers to these cute little chocolate cakes as well. My first time having a bouchon was NOT at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery shockingly enough. I say because one would think that the first place you’d have a baked good would be the bakery where it is their namesake item. My first bouchon was actually at a bakery in Allston, Massachusetts called Clear Flour Bread. It was crisp on the edges, fudgy in the center, just all around delicious and ideal for a chocolate cake. I figured that Nutella would be the perfect thing to put with that kind of cake, as it already contains cocoa and sugar, which are used in a bouchon recipe to begin with, and it has hazelnuts, which adds a nuttier flavor to the cake, while helps the cake bake off with crispier edges. The Nutella was definitely a welcomed addition to a cake I already fell in love with years ago, and I hope you enjoy baking and eating these as much as I did on both counts!

For the different layers, we have a Nutella bouchon, a molten Nutella ganache core, a coffee whip that is swirled with some of that Nutella ganache, topped with disks of chocolate-hazelnut bark. I used black cacao in the bouchon batter, because I loved the richness that it adds to the cake in terms of that chocolate flavor. But dark cocoa powder or even regular cocoa powder are acceptable substitutes! The ganache, I made it a point to keep it liquidy, because I almost wanted the experience to be like cutting into a molten lava cake, but that lava being Nutella instead of just plain chocolate. The coffee whip was a nod to my original idea, while I used Cafe du Monde chicory coffee, just to add more bitterness to counteract some of the inherent sweetness in Nutella, while also accenting the toasty notes of the hazelnuts and the bitterness of the chocolate. The bark on top is mostly made of dark chocolate, but I used Valrhona’s Azelia 35%(which is a hazelnut flavored milk chocolate!) as well, while finishing it with crushed hazelnuts and fleur de sel for that simple but tasty touch. I listed substitutions for all of these aforementioned specialty ingredients, since not everyone would have those handy, and while they are there to make this recipe even tastier, it is still plenty delicious even after those substitutions are made!

Makes 6 bouchons:
For the bouchon:
2 eggs
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup black cacao powder(can sub with dark cocoa powder too)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp canola oil

Whip eggs with Nutella, vanilla, and salt until stiff. Sift in the remaining ingredients and fold together to form your batter. Divide into 6 silicone cupcake molds and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool down before attempting to use.

For the Nutella molten ganache:
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup milk
1oz dark chocolate
a pinch of salt

Heat up everything until melted and combined. Cool down before using.

For the coffee cheesecake whip:
3 tbsp Cafe du Monde chicory coffee grounds(can sub with any coffee grounds)
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
8oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp Nutella molten ganache

Heat up the coffee grounds, water, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce by half and pour through a sieve into a bowl with the cream cheese. Mix until combined and smooth. Add in the vanilla at this part. In a piping bag, brush 4 lines on the sides using the molten ganache. Fill the piping bag with the whipped cream cheese and refrigerate until time to use.

For the hazelnut-chocolate bark:
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1oz Valrhona Azelia 35%(can replace with milk chocolate as well)
a pinch of fleur de sel(can sub with regular sea salt)
2 tbsp crushed hazelnuts

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler first. Then once completely melted, take off heat and stir in the Azelia. Once the chocolates are fully melted and combined, pour onto an acetate sheet and spread. Sprinkle on the fleur de sel and hazelnuts. Let the chocolate sit at room temperature for 4 minutes before cutting out disks using a metal ring cutter. Then transfer to the refrigerator to allow them to further set.

For assembly:
Flip the bouchons upside down and press holes into them using your thumb. Pour in a generous amount of the molten ganache. Pipe on top the coffee whip. Using a wetted offset spatula or spoon, spread the whip so that it will have whimsical little peaks on top. Garnish with the bark to finish.

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