Every Christmas, my boyfriend and his brothers make chocolates. They make rum balls and Nanaimo Bars, and then Tiramisu and Chocolate Cake with a Rum/Brandy/Coffee-soaked sponge base. This year, I asked to add a new chocolate to the mix: hazelnut truffles. I initially saw the post on Smitten Kitchen, which adapted a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. We got all the ingredients (well, almost) and learned a few things in the process, so I decided to blog about the experience and our recipe.

Hazelnut Truffles

First thing I learned, hazelnut liqueur only comes in large bottles and you only need a very small bit for the truffles. So, it’s a good thing that it also tastes amazing in hot beverages—coffee, hot chocolate, mochas, lattés—every possibility is delicious.

Second, our truffles did not obtain the correct consistency with the Smitten Kitchen recipe, so we had to improvise. It may have been because we only had semi-sweet chocolate, not a mixture of semi-sweet and bittersweet, but that’s unlikely in my opinion. I think it’s more likely that the measurement of chocolate chips was off. The recipe called for ounces of chocolate, which I had to convert into cups in order to measure the chocolate chips. Another thought is perhaps the number of liquids we had because I later consulted a recipe from The Kitchen Magpie and I think next time we’ll try this one. It has more chocolate and more cream, but also includes butter (2 Tablespoons) and less liquid (only 2 Tablespoons of liqueur instead of 3 Tablespoons of liqueur, coffee, and vanilla).


  • 7 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp Frangelico liqueur
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur (such as Frangelico)
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. good vanilla extract
  • 1 c. of roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped by food processor

Instructions (or, what we did)

First, we discovered that hazelnuts are also called filberts, but only in eastern North America. So we had an annoying jaunt around the grocery store to find them. They were raw and had the skin on, so we had to roast them. I couldn’t find information clarifying which order to measure/chop/roast, so I decided to measure out 1 cup, spread them on a sheet pan and roast in the oven: 325°F for 25 minutes (only 10 minutes without skin). Once cooled, we pulverized them in the food processor until they were chopped, but not full-on dust. Set aside for later, to roll the truffle in.

As for the chocolate, I already mentioned we didn’t get both semi-sweet and bittersweet (recipe called for 3.5 oz. of each). Instead we used semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you’re using chocolate squares or chunks, make sure to chop up your chocolate into tiny pieces and place into a glass bowl. Then you put the whipping cream on the stovetop and, stirring constantly, bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, pour it over the chocolate and whisk together. Then we added the liqueur, coffee, and vanilla extract. When we try adding butter, the butter will be boiled with the cream.

Hazelnut Truffles with chopped hazelnuts inside, to fix consistency

Hazelnut Truffles with chopped hazelnuts inside, to fix consistency

The recipe said to cover and refrigerate, overnight is best but a few hours would suffice. here is where we ran into trouble. It never sufficiently hardened. When we make rum balls, the mixture goes from gooey to solid. And even overnight, the truffle mix was still the consistency of cake frosting. Here is where I made an executive decision. Instead of saving the chopped hazelnuts to roll the truffles in, I mixed it into the truffle batter (is batter the right word?). This improved the consistency immensely, but it then meant that we couldn’t use the chopped hazelnuts to roll the truffles in. We used unsweetened cocoa powder to coat them, which we weren’t crazy about, but it did the trick.

Rolling truffles (as with rum balls) is a very messy activity. No kitchen implements help. You just have to use a spoon, scoop up the mixture, and roll it into a ball-ish shape in your hands. Put the cocoa powder into a shallow bowl before you begin rolling. Once rolled, coat in cocoa powder and return to the fridge. We place them in tupperware, lined up in a single layer.

Hazelnut Truffles

Aside from the modifications noted, the hazelnut truffles were a great success. They were so tasty—like Ferrero Rocher without the wafer bit.

The Truffle Shuffle
Chunk’s Truffle Shuffle from The Goonies