Since my first batch of Hazelnut Brownies were a chocoholic's dream and I felt a little chocolated-out, I decided to highlight the Hazelnut flavor in the second batch of brownies by modifying a recipe for Nutty Butterscotch Blondies that I found in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. Essentially, a blondie is a brownie without the chocolate. It wasn't that I didn't want the chocolate, I just didn't want the chocolate to overpower the hazelnut. So with this second attempt at Hazelnut Brownies, a Nutella-Hazelnut batter is marbled into a hazelnut blondie batter. Then it is topped with chopped hazelnuts for some textural contrast, as well as a visual reminder of what one should be tasting.
While my first Hazelnut Brownies were egg-leavened and used a minimal amount of flour, this second batch is leavened with baking powder. For the flour, being that the starting recipe is from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, I used white whole wheat. I like whole wheat, because it gives full-bodied cookies and brownies a little ump, so that the texture stands up to the flavor. I wouldn't use whole grain flours in delicate cookies, such as Katz Tongues or Madelines, but in anything chocolatey, I like to use whole grain flour for at least a portion of the all-purpose.
The end result is chewy, buttery and nutty. But you know what I concluded?
Maybe I don't really crave the real hazelnut-chocolate combination. Maybe what I crave is Nutella... Or Frangelico over ice.
Isn't it a bummer to all of us natural food enthusiasts when the -flavored product is somehow more satisfying than the 'natural?' But, oh well, opening a jar of Nutella or a bottle of Frangelico is certainly less time-consuming than mixing and baking a pan of brownies. Besides, my waistline needs a break from this kitchen adventure.
Hazelnut Nutella Blondies
Highly adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup each white sugar and brown sugar
4 eggs, divided
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour
3/4 cup Nutella