Yes, it is finally my week! And with this heat, boy am I glad I picked something that didn't really require much baking.

I love hazelnuts. The taste, the smell... just love everything about it. Toasting the hazelnuts made my house very hot yet very fragrant... and made the heat just that much bearable.

Hazelnut Truffles (page 218-219 from Sweet Melissa's book)

3 1/2 cups of blanched hazelnuts or filberts
14 ounces of best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)

• Spread the hazelnuts out on a cookie sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

• Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a large bowl.

• In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the heavy cream to scalding, or until the cream is steaming and tiny bubbles have formed along the edges. Do not boil. Immediately pour over the chocolate to cover. Set aside for 5 minutes.

• Place 1 1/2 cups of hazelnuts in a resealable plastic bag, seal tightly and tap the nuts with a rolling pin until they are finely crushed.
• Whisk the chocolate cream mixture until smooth. Stir in the liqueur and the crushed hazelnuts until blended.

• Refrigerate until the truffle base is firm enough to scoop, at least 2 hours.
Place the remaining 2 cups of hazelnuts in another resealable plastic bag, seal tightly and tap the nuts with the rolling pin until they are finely crushed. Transfer the crushed nuts to a shallow soup bowl.
• Roll each truffle in the chopped hazelnuts to cover.

The truffles are best eaten at room temperature. They keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Now, the changes that I made:

• First, I halved the recipe.
• I used semisweet chips so saved myself some chopping time.
• Instead of hazelnut liqueur, I used hazelnut spread. I really didn't want to buy a whole big bottle of Frangelico just for this, so I used about 1/3 cups of hazelnut spread and incorporated it while I was whisking the chocolate spread when it was still warm.

I have to say, these were really, really, unbelievably good. So much like the Ferrer Rocher chocolates that I think I can wrap them up in gold paper and give it away as a gift! I will definitely be making these in the future, as well as trying other flavors.
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