When it comes to dessert, I have terrible taste. And by “terrible” I mean trashy. Sure, I may make fancy desserts, but deep down all I want are wine gums. A bag of Sour Patch Kids is the fastest way to my heart. And for that reason, I don’t think I’m cut out for adulting. I seem to be downright rubbish at it. This year for my birthday, I classed it up a bit and ask for my weight in these fancy gummies in lieu of a birthday cake. But if I do find myself in the mood for a dessert that has actually seen the inside of an oven, 9 times out of 10 it will be a warm brownie situation. And these Hazelnut Brownies with Frangelico Ice Cream are the best warm brownie situation I could dream up.
Besides wine gums and other gelatinous treats, I am a huge fan of Ferrero Rocher. I get a box every Christmas and I’m lucky if they live to see the new year. Milk chocolate with hazelnut is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. And I have observed that the chocolate must be milk for me to enjoy the pairing. Don’t get me wrong, I like dark chocolate, I just think hazelnut and milk chocolate were meant for each other. So why not put the two in a brownie?
Yes, these Hazelnut Brownies are jam-packed with crushed hazelnuts and milk chocolate chips. The brownies themselves are made with dark chocolate for contrast and because I thought milk chocolate brownies might be a bit much. These brownies are not the dense, fudgy foodie-approved variety. These brownies are a little cakey. Not as cakey as a sheet cake but a little cakey. And I have a good reason for this somewhat gouache stylistic choice.
I prefer my brownies warm with ice cream on top. This, to me, is the most perfect dessert to not come out of a bag. But the ice cream has to be perched on the right kind of brownie. First, the brownie must be warm verging on hot – I want maximum contrast. The brownie must be intensely chocolaty, again to contrast with what is most likely vanilla ice cream. And the brownie has to be a little cakey. And it must be cakey because cakey brownies absorb melty ice cream more readily than fudgy brownies. It just simple brownie physics.
As far as the ice cream is concerned, you don’t have to be fancy. I made my own and spiked it with Frangelico for an extra hazelnut hit. But you don’t have to do that. You could just buy a pint of whatever you fancy and pop it on top of one of the brownies and call it a day. But having said that, the Frangelico Ice Cream is pretty damn good. So if you’re game to put in the extra effort, there will be a delicious return on your investment.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Hazelnut Brownies with Frangelico Ice Cream. They’re rich, decadent, and downright nutty. And when finished with a scoop of ice cream, there simply isn’t a more satisfying dessert…except, of course, for sour keys. 😉
Hazelnut Brownies with Frangelico Ice Cream
- 8×8 baking pan
- Ice Cream Maker
Frangelico Ice Cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cups milk I used 2%
- 3 oz Frangelico
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup whole hazelnuts
- 255g (9oz) good quality dark chocolate coarsely chopped
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips
- Additional crushed hazelnuts for sprinkling
For the Ice Cream
- Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and add the granulated sugar. Beat the yolks and sugar together until the yolks turn a paler shade of yellow. Set aside.
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the Frangelico, the vanilla extract, and the salt. Bring the milk mixture to a gentle simmer. Whisk in a little of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Add the yolks to the saucepan and gently cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. You know it’s thick enough if you can draw a line through it with your finger.
- Take the custard off of the heat and pour it into a resealable container through a fine-mesh strainer. Let cool on the counter before transferring to the fridge. Let chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can cool the custard using an ice bath.
- When the custard is cold, pour it into a vessel with a spout and whisk in the heavy cream. Pour the mixture into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes or until the ice cream resembles soft serve.
- Scoop the ice cream into a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer the ice cream to the freezer and let chill for a minimum of three hours. Overnight is better.
For the Brownies
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease an 8×8 pan and line it with two pieces of parchment paper to form a sling. Set aside.
- Pour the hazelnuts into a freezer bag and give them a couple of whacks with a mallet. Set them aside as well.
- Pour the dark chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl. Bring a small pan of water to a simmer and place the bowl with the chocolate on top. Add the butter and stir until the butter and chocolate melts completely.
- Take the chocolate off of the heat and whisk in the eggs one by one. Stir in a cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until no flour streaks remain.
- Fold in the hazelnuts and milk chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set in the center.
- Let the brownies cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack and leaving them to cool completely. When cool, slice the brownies into 9 squares.
- When ready to serve, give each brownie a quick 25-second blast in the microwave, before topping with a scoop of the Frangelico ice cream. Garnish with additional hazelnuts and serve immediately.