I love those little gold balls of Ferrero-Rocher chocolates and usually buy some at Christmas time. I have been seeing them advertised on television lately, maybe because Christmas is looming near? Last week, during one of their advertisements I was inspired to make these Ferrero-Rocher Profiteroles and it has been a really fun project. This is not a traditional profiterole as it is muffin-size but it is my version of the old classic profiterole.
My cookbook library has a huge three-inch thick book entitled, 1000 Chocolate Baking & Dessert Recipes From Around The World. This was another great gift-buy from Don and he bought it at Barnes and Nobel bookstore at least ten years ago. It was on close-out for $19.98 and I know that he had sweet visions of me making every one of those high-calorie recipes. I think I may have used it six times, total.
Our small group bible study meets every Tuesday evening so I thought I would bring this as a little treat during the social part of the meeting. I had been browsing through this cookbook and the recipe for banana cream profiteroles caught my eye and my inspiration was born to make these Ferrero-Rocher profiteroles.
A profiterole is a fancy French dessert but we Americans would know it by the name ‘cream puff’ and the batter is piped into little mounds and as it bakes it puffs up and becomes hollow inside. When it is cool it is usually filled with a pastry cream, whipped cream or even ice cream and then served with a chocolate sauce. You can use the same batter and make oblong shapes and then they are called eclairs.
In the past I have had fifty-fifty luck in making good cream puffs as sometimes they would not have any hollow area, or very little. Other times they would be just fine and I did not know what was wrong so I just blamed it on the weather. You know how the humidity can affect things like divinity. But, I found a video at Joy of Baking that showed the process and I discovered what I was doing wrong. I was not cooking the flour mixture enough to get all the steam out of it before adding the eggs.
The directions in my recipe book said to pipe the dough in little mounds onto parchment paper but I decided to make muffin-size profiteroles rather than those little guys in the book. In creating these Ferrero-Rocher profiteroles, I mixed up two batches of the profiterole recipe, and baked them in a regular size muffin pan using my regular-size ice cream scoop. When they had baked the required time I turned off the oven, removed the muffin pan from the oven, cut a couple slits in each puff so the steam could escape and immediately put them back in the hot oven, directly on the oven rack to dry out and become crisp.
After they were cool I filled the cavity in both the tops and bottoms of each one with a hazelnut cream filing of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, Torani hazelnut syrup and cream. Then chopped hazelnuts were folded into the cream mixture. Frangelico is an Italian hazelnut liqueur and it can be added for the flavoring but I decided to substituted with Torani hazelnut syrup as I did not want the alcohol. Several whole toasted hazelnuts were pushed into the filling of the bottom of each one, then the top was placed on the bottom half. Finally, the chocolate glaze was spooned on each one and chopped hazelnuts sprinkled on the chocolate.
To put the whole thing together, when the chocolate was dry to the touch I placed each profiterole in a gold metallic cupcake wrapper and stacked them to resemble a tower and refrigerated them until time to serve.
- For the Profiteroles
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 10 tablespoons of butter, cut into small pieces
- 4 eggs
- For the Ferrero-Rocher Filling
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup Torani hazelnut syrup
- 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup whole toasted hazelnuts
- For the chocolate glaze
- 12 ounces good quality chocolate, chopped
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely ground for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick oil-spray
- Add the flour, salt and sugar to a bowl and whisk together, set aside.
- Add the eggs to a dish and whip with a fork to break them up, set aside.
- Add the water and the butter to a medium size saucepan and over medium heat bring just to a boil, breaking up the butter so it is melted by the time the water boils. Remove from the heat and add the flour mixture all at once. With a stiff spatula or wooden spoon, stir the mixture together to make a smooth clump, return it to the heat and continue to stir. You will notice that it will continue to release steam as you stir. When you begin to see a white film appearing on the bottom of the pan and the mixture has formed a firm ball remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a stand mixer.
- With the paddle attachment on the mixer, set the machine to the lowest speed and allow to stir the mixture to cool it and release more steam. When it feels lukewarm to the touch begin adding the eggs, a little at a time, on the same slow speed. The mixture will break up and gradually come together in a smooth paste.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl that is easy to scoop from and, using a regular-size ice cream scoop, place one scoop in each of the 12 muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to bake for an additional 35 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through the baking process.
- Remove the pan from the oven, turn the oven to the off position and carefully cut several places in the side of the upper third of each puff to allow the steam to escape. As you cut each one, return it to the oven, directly on the rack so they can dry out. When all of the puffs have been cut and placed back into the oven, leave the oven door cracked and allow the puffs to cool in the oven. After the puffs have cooled remove them from the oven, cut each one in half at the places where you previously cut them and set them aside while you mix the filling.
To make the Ferrero-Rocher cream filling:
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, sugar, salt and hazelnut syrup and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds to combine. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides and the bottom. Remove the paddle attachment and attach the whisk attachment. Add the whipping cream to the mixture and turn the speed to low to stir together and slowly increase the speed to high and whip to a firm consistency.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a spatula, fold in the coarsely ground toasted hazelnuts. Transfer the hazelnut cream filling mixture to another bowl that is easy to scoop from when filling the cavities of the profiteroles. Fill each of the hollow shells, tops and bottoms, with the hazelnut cream mixture adding one or two roasted hazelnuts to the bottom portion, put the top portion onto the bottom portion, pressing down gently.
To make the chocolate glaze:
- Add the chopped chocolate to a medium-size bowl and reserve
- Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring just to a boil, then pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate pieces and allow to sit for five minutes, then, using a whisk, gently stir the mixture until it is smooth and glossy. Allow to sit and cool for 20 or 30 minutes to thicken enough so the glaze adheres to the profiteroles. If it becomes too thick, set the dish in some hot water and stir until it loosens up to the proper consistency. Spoon, or dip each profiterole with the chocolate glaze and sprinkle with additional chopped hazelnuts as a garnish, if you are using them. Place each profiterole on a wire baking rack.
- When the chocolate glaze is dry to the touch, place each one in a gold-colored cupcake paper and stack them tower-like on a serving plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.