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Chocolate kugels These chocolate kugels are a variation of the famous Mozart kugels.

The original Mozart kugels are made with a core of almond or pistachio marzipan covered with soft nut nougat (praline paste) and dark chocolate.

whole hazelnuts
soft almond or hazelnut nougat/praline paste  — 
eg "Dubbel Nougat" *)
almond paste
cognac, Amaretto, Kirschwasser or other alcohol for flavouring
high-quality bittersweet chocolate
(coconut butter)
high-quality milk chocolate

Taste the hazelnuts to ensure they are fresh, not rancid. If the hazelnuts are not blanched (ie they have their thin brown skin on), they must first be peeled. Blanching hazelnuts can be a pretty messy and frustrating job, so you might be better off buying readily blanched hazelnuts, as long as they are fresh.

Peeling unskinned hazelnuts:
To help to peel the nuts, they are toasted in oven. Spread the nuts on a wide oven pan in one layer. Toast them lightly at 175 °C for about 6 minutes or so. They may need a much longer time to toast, depending on your oven. Watch them carefully the whole time, they burn very easily.

Wrap the warm hazelnuts in a coarse, thick towel and let stand for a couple of minutes for some steam to build up inside the towel. Then rub the hazelnuts against each other inside the towel to loosen their skins. Separate the nuts from the skins.

If using readily blanched hazelnuts, lightly toast them in oven as described above  —  toasting enhances their flavour. Spread them on a plate to cool thoroughly.

If the almond paste is hardened, soften it by kneading it with your hands. Flavour the paste by mixing in some cognac, almond liqueur, cherry brandy or whatever you like. Do not add too much liquid, so that the paste will not become too moist and sticky.

Cut the soft nougat in small, thin disks or squares and wrap one piece around each hazelnut, forming a round ball (see the pictures below). Work quickly, so that the nougat will not melt or become too sticky. Place the covered hazelnuts in refrigerator to harden.

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Flatten pieces of almond paste and wrap around the nougat-covered hazelnuts. Form into ball shapes and let dry for a while at room temperature (see the pictures above). Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a warm water bath. To make the chocolate more pliable you can mix in a small amount of coconut butter (a couple of teaspoons or tablespoons, depending on the amount of chocolate used).

Dip the almond paste balls into the melted chocolate, using a fork or a toothpick, and place on a parchment paper to set. Melt the milk chocolate and drizzle over the chocolate kugels after the coating has set. Let the milk chocolate set and serve the kugels.

Store the kugels in a cool place or in refrigerator in a tightly sealed container to protect them from moisture. Take them out to room temperature slightly before serving. Eat within a couple of days.

Dubbel Nougat *) "Dubbel Nougat" or "Nougat Double" is a brand of smooth, soft nut nougat (praline paste) manufactured by the Swedish Marabou, currently owned by Kraft Foods (see the picture on right).

You can also use "Odense Soft Nougat" by the Danish Odense Marcipan. Praline paste is also available in some specialty pastry or gourmet stores.

Recipe source: family recipe.


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