Made another chocolate hazelnut treat recently, as my love for all things hazelnut butter is still going strong… These choco-hazelnut fudge cups are a delish quick and easy but super flavorful little dessert: creamy and delicate, yet filled with the rich flavors of hazelnuts, espresso, and cacao butter, and a layer of dark chocolate for good measure.
There are several things that can be varied with this recipe to suit your taste. Here are a few suggestions for you to play around with if you’re interested, as well as some tips for best results:
- The bottom layer is delicate and soft — I intentionally used some water in there to keep it on the lighter side this time around. However, you can play up the richness and firmness of the texture of the fudge by swapping out a tbsp or two of the water for another tbsp or two of cacao butter if you prefer.
- If you can’t find cacao butter for the hazelnut layer, feel free to use coconut oil instead. I’d recommend using a bit more of it since it usually firms up slightly less strong than cacao butter. Keep in mind you’ll lose the flavor of the cacao (which I think is really lovely in this), but otherwise it’s a good substitute in a pinch.
- The hazelnut butter should be super creamy. I recommend getting a new jar and stirring it really well so that the oil is well incorporated and the butter is nice and smooth. Firmed up / old butter will create a drier and more crumbly texture, which you’ll want to avoid here.
- Yes, you can use another nut butter if you prefer :) Of course hazelnut butter has a certain magic to it… But if you want to swap it out, go for something like roasted almond butter or pecan butter — something with a bit more of a distinct and deep flavor. And when in doubt, peanut butter is always a pretty safe bet too ;)
- I snuck a little roasted coffee bean into this fudge. It’s invisible from the photos because it’s hiding under the chocolate coating. Up to you if you want to leave it in or not, but it adds a nice crunchy surprise when you get to the center and adds a nice burst of flavor which I really enjoyed.
- Last but not least, for the top chocolate layer of this fudge I just used some vegan melted chocolate I had on hand. You can use your favorite chocolate bar or can DIY a chocolate coating like this. If you use melted chocolate, keep in mind that the chocolate layer will become very firm. I liked it that way (sort of like a chocolate peanut butter cup, only a bit more grown up in flavor and with choco only on the top). If you want to soften it a bit, you can always stir in a bit of hazelnut butter into the melted chocolate. And speaking of chocolate, you could of course coat these entirely in chocolate to create fudge cups (instead of just having the chocolate on top) by freezing the fudge fully and then dunking it into some melted chocolate. Or if you want less chocolate altogether, just drizzle some on top instead of coating the entire surface. Options, options…
If you’re into the chocolate hazelnut combo, here are a few other recipes you might be interested in:
- this hazelnut cake (which basically inspired this recipe)
- these chocolate hazelnut bites
- these chocolate orange hazelnut truffles
- or this raw chocolate hazelnut cheesecake
A lush no-bake vegan hazelnut chocolate fudge dessert recipe. Also gluten-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free.
- ½ cup creamy natural hazelnut butter
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp water*
- 2 tbsp cocoa butter, melted**
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp instant espresso powder (or more to taste)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 whole espresso beans (optional)
- approx. ½ cup melted dark chocolate***
- Make sure hazelnut layer ingredients are at room temperature before getting started. Process all hazelnut layer ingredients, except the espresso beans, into a uniform consistency in a food processor. Scoop the mixture out into 4 silicone muffin liners (have them set inside a muffin pan for support). Press down with the back of a spoon or with your hands to flatten the top. Optional: lightly press an espresso bean into the top of each fudge cup. Place the pan in the freezer for 15-20 mins to chill.
- While the hazelnut layer is chilling, melt the chocolate for the topping. Once chilled, divide the chocolate mixture evenly between the 4 fudge cups by pouring it on top of the hazelnut layer. Return the pan with the fudge back into the freezer to chill for 4-5 hours, then enjoy. Store the fudge in the freezer until ready to eat, and thaw it out lightly at room temp as needed to get a slightly softer texture.
*Note: I used water to keep the base layer a bit lighter. It also makes it softer. If you want a firmer or richer consistency, use some more melted cacao butter and proportionately less water instead.
**Cocoa butter also goes by the name cacao butter. It adds a beautiful chocolate flavor to the fudge, and also allows it to firm up.
***Alternatively use this vegan magic shell recipe for a DIY chocolate topping.
This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com for products used to make the recipe.