Recipe: Sweet and spicy White Nougat bonbons

You search for a unique gift for a vegan friend? Why not create some little iChoc „White Nougat Crisp“ bonbons? Refined with candied hazelnuts and salty caramel, these bonbons are a delicacy to remember.

What you need

(makes 10 bonbons of approximately 30 g per piece, enough for 5 servings)

For the candied hazelnuts:
> 30 g hazelnuts
> 2 tablespoons (30 g) white sugar
> 1 teaspoon plant-based shortening or margarine

For the salted caramel:
> 1 bar (80 g) iChoc white nougat crisp
> 100 g white sugar
> 2 tablespoons (30 g) golden syrup
> 80 g full fat soya cream
> ½ teaspoon (1 g) sea salt

For the bonbons:
> 200 g dates, pitted
> 130 g hazelnuts, oven roasted
> 1 tablespoon (10 g) chia seeds
> 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chilly powder (according to taste & intensity of the chilly powder you are using)
> a pinch of sea salt (approximately ¼ teaspoon)

For the coating:
1 bar (80 g) iChoc white nougat crisp
1 tablespoon (10 g) hazelnuts, oven-roasted & crushed
1 tablespoon (2 g) quinoa pops

How you create it

CANDIED HAZELNUTS:
Start with the candied hazelnuts. In a pan, on low fire melt the butter. Add the sugar and the nuts. Stir constantly – using a heatproof spatula – in order to constantly cover the hazelnuts with the melted sugar. Cook until the sugar takes an amber color and the nuts are nicely covered with the caramel. Transfer the hazelnuts on a piece of baking paper and separate them – using a spatula or a fork. Wait until they cool off and the caramel turns hard & solid. Then you can easily break and separate the candied hazelnuts with your hands.

SALTED CARAMEL:
In a mixing bowl, break the iChoc white nougat crisp bar in small pieces, add 1 tablespoon of golden syrup and set aside.
In a pan, on low fire, warm up the soya cream making sure that it doesn’t boil. Set aside or on very low fire to make sure that it stays hot enough until it is time to use it for the caramel.

In a clean pan, combine the sugar with 1 tablespoon of golden syrup, drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of water until the sugar is well soaked. Warm up the mix on low fire. Stir slightly until the sugar is completely dissolved and then let it cook on medium fire without stirring! Letting the caramel cook without stirring is very important. Any movement or the presence of dirt in your pan will cause the caramel to crystalize. After 5 to 10 minutes, the caramel will slightly start turning darker and shortly after it will take an amber color. It is ready! Remove from fire and gradually add the hot soya cream while swirling the caramel by moving the pan in a circular motion – don’t use any utensils yet. When adding the hot cream to the caramel it will bubble rapidly and spatter so be careful! Continue the circular movement until the caramel takes an even and slightly lighter color.

Transfer the caramel in the bowl with the chocolate and golden syrup. Let it sit for a minute, then add the salt and stir slowly – using a spatula – until you get a smooth and homogenous mix.

BONBONS:
In a food processor, combine the dates with the hazelnuts, chia seeds, chilly powder and salt. Blend for approximately 2 minutes until the dates and the hazelnuts are finely chopped and all ingredients combined in a sticky and homogenous mass. Don’t worry if the chia seeds are not homogenously distributed. You can transfer the mix in a bowl and blend it a little bit better using your hands. At this point taste the mix and adjust its spiciness. Create 10 small balls of approximately 30 g each, roll them nicely and place them on a baking paper.

COATING:
In ‘bain-marie’*, on low fire, carefully & slowly melt the iChoc white nougat crisp. The chocolate is really sensitive to heat so make sure that the water at your ‘bain-marie’ is slowly steaming and not boiling. Otherwise your chocolate will break.

When the chocolate is melted, remove it from fire and stir until its temperature slightly drops. Then, dip the bonbons in the melted chocolate one by one and transfer them on a piece of baking paper or on a cake rack. Sprinkle with some crushed oven-roasted hazelnuts & quinoa pops. They are ready!

For the plating, add a stripe of salted caramel, 2 bonbons per plate, a few candied hazelnuts and sprinkle with some more crushed oven-roasted hazelnuts and sea salt.

(*)‘bain-marie’: in a cooking pan add 2 fingers of water and let it slowly boil on low fire. Place a metallic bowl on top of the pan. In the bowl you place the chocolate to let it slowly melt while protecting it from getting overheated & burned.

Tip: If you have any caramel over, you can store it in a jar at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Before use, warm it up in a microwave oven or ‘bain-marie’.

Recipe, picture & foodstyling © Alexandra Mitsiou | www.alexandramitsiou.com