Nutella Brownie Truffle Bites
Truffles are so good but they’re a pain to make.
These sliceable bites provide the richness of a fudgy brownie crossed with the decadence of a truffle, minus any tedious rolling or dipping.
I didn’t know what to make with the remaining Nutella after the Nutella Cinnamon Rolls but I started thinking truffles. And promptly talked myself out of that idea. I just don’t have the patience to melt chocolate with heavy cream, wait for it chill for a few hours, only to have to roll out dozens of little balls, which each require being dipped in melted chocolate or dredged through cocoa powder. No thanks.
I am the queen of bars and desserts-in-a-pan and decided to incorporate my fondness for Nutella Brownies with no-bake truffles that are pressed into a pan and sliced rather than rolled. Such a time-saver. The batter comes together in one bowl in five minutes and they can easily be kept vegan and gluten-free.
To make the bites, combine Nutella, softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, one-quarter cup flour, and stir until combined. Those ingredients are the fundamentals in chocolate slice-and-bake-style shortbread cookies, but my theory is why bother baking cookies if I can have something that tastes like a cross between chocolate-cookie cookie dough, a fudgy brownie, and a truffle. I’m sure you understand.
The dough is thick, dense, and will seem quite wet. Add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time and only as necessary, in order to take it from wet and sloppy to smooth and malleable. One or two tablespoons can make the difference from gloppy to crumbly. When judging dough consistency, ask yourself, could I pack this into a pan and slice it into bite-sized pieces that will hold their shape? Depending on your answer, play with the flour ratio in small amount. If you happen to over-do it, adding a touch more Nutella will re-moisten it. I used one quarter cup plus two tablespoons of flour.
Fold in the chocolate chips and transfer mixture to a foil-lined and sprayed 8-inch square pan. If you have a 6-inch square pan, it’s ideal and use it, but most people don’t. Therefore, it’s important to note that the mixture should cover only two-thirds of the base of the pan, leaving approximately a two-inch bare margin. Don’t spread it over the entire surface because the truffles will be thin and flat. I want something that I can really sink my teeth into and prefer thicker bites, which is why using only a portion of the pan is advantageous.
Allow the mixture to set up in the refrigerator for at least two hours before slicing and serving. The bites are rich, as anything would be made with Nutella, butter, sugar, and two forms of chocolate is, so I slice them on the smaller side. These are truffles after all, a rare treat in which I’ll concede bigger isn’t better.
The dark nuggets will keep for many weeks in the refrigerator or freezer. I store them in the freezer here in Aruba and they never freeze solid, thanks to the butterfat and Nutella. I recommend storing them in either the refrigerator or freezer not only because there’s butter in them, but because dark, rich, and fudgy desserts taste better and more decadent when served chilled. Remarkably, they stayed quite firm even in my 88F degree hot and humid Caribbean kitchen, a welcome change from most other chocolate treats that tend to melt in minutes. In more normal climates, you could likely keep them sitting out for many hours before they’d soften much.
Although they’re sweet, they’re not overly sweet treat like traditional fudge tends to be. There’s just one-half cup confectioners’ sugar added to the entire batch, and it’s done for both bulking the batter, drying it out, and offsetting the bitterness of unsweetened cocoa powder.
What the bites lack in sugary status, they make up for in richness and creaminess thanks to both the butter and Nutella, which also adds a hint of hazelnut flavor. They’re dense, very chocolaty and fudgy, which is how I like my brownies. They’re much more fudgy like brownies than like actual fudge, which tends to be far too grainy and sweet for my liking. The chocolate chips in every bite boost the chocolate intensity and add welcome texture.
Part no-bake fudgy Nutella brownie, part rich chocolate-cookie cookie dough, and part decadent truffle.
It’s dangerous that they’re a five minute project.
All the flavor and decadence of truffles, minus the work. The tedious step of rolling dozens of balls is notably absent. These sliceable, no-bake, dense, rich bites come together in 5 minutes and are pressed into a pan and sliced, rather than rolled, a huge time-saver. They're part fudgy brownie, part chocolate cookie dough, part truffle - all in one. Creamy, very chocolaty, with a touch of hazelnut flavor and every bit as indulgent as their much more labor-intensive counterparts.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (use vegan butter or margarine to keep vegan)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder + more for final dusting (Hershey's Special Dark or Dutch-process brands may be substituted)
1/4 cup plus 1 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as necessary (gluten-free flour may be substituted)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine Nutella, butter, sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder and stir until a thick paste is formed. Add 1/4 cup flour slowly, stirring until the dough firms up and combines. Dough should be sticky enough to hold together - imagine it being pressed into the pan and you'll need to slice it - so not wet and sloppy, nor dry and crumbly. 1 to 2 tablespoons flour can make the difference between a workable dough and not. Add flour only until dough combines and if you overdo it and dough becomes too dry, add a touch more Nutella to re-moisten it. I used 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour. Add chocolate chips and fold to incorporate. It will be a bit challenging to fold them in because dough is thick and dense, but keep stirring until incorporated.
Turn dough out into prepared pan, and important note is that dough should cover only two-thirds of the base of the pan; leaving a 2-inch wide column bare. This is done in order to create truffles that are the thickness shown. If dough is spread over the entire pan, truffles will be much thinner, which I don't prefer. Firmly pack and flatten dough mixture into the pan, smoothing it with a spatula. Place pan in refrigerator for at least two hours to chill before slicing and serving. Optionally, dust with a sprinkling of cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar prior to serving. Store truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Do you like truffles or make them? Or make anything with Nutella?
Tell me about your favorite recipes.