Oh man. I am still in somewhat of a food coma from this weekend’s Passover/Easter festivities. I love holidays that center around food. I also love when I get a chance to cook and bake in my parents’ kitchen on Long Island. It has an island! So much counter space! An oven that’s not directly against a wall so I can approach it from either side!

So yeah, this hazelnut macaron torte. Holy crap. Thanks, smitten kitchen! I won’t say that this process didn’t take a long time – I think it was about four or five hours start to finish – but it was really worth every minute. Great kosher for passover and gluten-free option that I will definitely be making again and again.

smitten kitchen’s Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaron* Torte

Cake/macaron layers
12 ounces hazelnuts
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt

Chocolate filling
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso granules

Whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate for shaving

*My understanding of macaroon is that it has to have coconut, and my understanding of macaron is that it’s egg whites and nuts – thus the slight name change.

Preheat oven to 350F, roast the hazelnuts, allow them to cool enough so you can touch them, and then get the skin off. Skinning the hazelnuts was the worst. What made is especially bad was that the grocery store near my parents on Long Island didn’t have whole hazelnuts – just chopped ones – making the process that more difficult and time-consuming. The skins really are bitter though, so as much of them need to go as possible.

Put the skinned+roasted hazelnuts in a food processor with 1 cup sugar and a pinch of kosher salt in the food processor, pulsing until finely ground.


Hazelnuts post-processing

Re-arrange the oven racks so one is at the top, and the other is at the bottom 3rd (do this with an oven mitt if the heat is still on!). Lower temperature to 325F. Create four 8” rounds with parchment paper, and put each in the center of a baking sheet (if you only have 2 baking sheets like me – just put two down for now). Lightly wipe vegetable or canola oil on the rounds.

Use an electric beater to get the egg whites to have soft peaks. Then add in the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to beat until you have stiff peaks, and then gradually fold in the macaron mixture.

Plop 1/4 of the mixture on each prepared (oiled) parchment round, and spread to the edges. Bake each round for approximately 20 minutes. This might need to occur in steps if you don’t have two ovens (what a magical life this would be) or four baking sheets. Immediately move the baked macarons to a cooling rack.


Baked rounds. If you get a crack (like I did), it’s no big deal.

While the hazelnut macarons are cooling, prepare the chocolate-y goodness layer. Using a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate with the water and coffee granules. Smear this on to each layer. You’ll need to let this cool for a couple of hours at room temperature.


When the chocolate layer is set, it’s time to make the whipped cream! Combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla and then whip using a stand or hand mixer. Start assembling the layers using the whipped cream as the glue. Then spread the whipped cream around the whole cake, and top with shaved chocolate.

This tastes like something you might eat in Vienna, so you might as well have a good coffee with it and pretend you’re surrounded by beautiful architecture.

It’s also really lovely to see this creation hanging out in your refrigerator.