When it comes to family…I sometimes feel like I won the lottery. Not only because I inherited some really good looking genes (joke!) but because the coolest, funniest, most awesomest people that I’ve ever met happen to be my mom, my dad and my 2 little brothers. Does that sound way too cheesy? It totally does. So if you’re not into it then you should probably leave now. But don’t. There is a chocolate-y surprise at the end, I promise.
Today is a special day because it is my mom’s birthday. If you don’t know my mom, you should probably get to know her because she is the best. She is one of those people that will drop everything to make the people she loves happy. For example, when I panicked because I couldn’t find a navy blue cocktail dress for a sorority event in college, she made me one and sent it to me. Or what about the time I adopted Peanut from the humane society, and then decided to move to New York 6 months later. Yep, she raised him as her own (but don’t think for a second that he won’t be on the first flight to JFK if he pees in the living room one more time.) And she still makes my dad a chocolate cake with mayo in it like his mom used to make him every year for his birthday, even though the idea of mayo in a cake is…kinda gross. Or delicious…It depends on how you look at it, I guess. But the best thing about my mom, is that no matter how many times I mess up or how many wrong decisions that I make, she still loves me. She still listens to me talk…more like complain, about whatever it is that I messed up, and has never once said “I told you so.” Which she has got to be itching to say by now.
This birthday is even more special, because she traveled all the way from Portland, Oregon to spend it with me…It should be the other way around, I know, but I guess that’s just another reason why she is so fantastic. One last thing about my mom. If there is anything that she loves in this world as much as she loves Peanut, it’s dark chocolate. I don’t blame her….how does the saying go? A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away? Yep, pretty sure that’s it. So for her birthday, I whipped up a Chocolate Hazelnut Tart. I promised you chocolate didn’t I?
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts, no skin
- 1 cup oats
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp confectioners sugar
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the crust, start by preheating the oven to 350. Put the hazelnuts in a food processor and grind until they are very finely chopped. Or in my case, if you don’t have a food processor (I had you fooled this whole time, didn’t I?) simply put the hazelnuts in a zip lock bag and smash with a dish towel covered hammer. You know things are getting serious when a hammer makes a guest appearance in the kitchen. Next, remove the nuts from the food processor and put them in a mixing bowl, then put the oats in the food processor and pulse quickly or coarsely chop with a knife. You want them chopped, but not finely ground. Add the oats to the bowl with the hazelnuts. Add the cocoa powder and the confectioners sugar, then pour in the melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Press the mixture into a tart pan, then bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cool the tart shell completely on a cooling rack. To make the filling, heat the heavy cream until it starts to boil. Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl, then pour the hot cream into the bowl. Whisk continuously until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the egg, salt and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cooled tart shell and bake on 350 for 20 – 22 minutes. Cool, then serve.
My mom and I are currently on a train headed to Washington D.C. where we plan to spend the next 4 days on Capitol Hill protesting the law that requires Starbucks to put the calorie count of everything on their menu. Just kidding. But we will be enjoying the sights and cherry blossoms in D.C. for the next few days, so this is goodbye until Monday, my friends. I hope you all enjoy this lovely holiday weekend, and I hope you eat enough Cadbury Eggs and Jelly Beans to sink a battleship…because you know that’s what I’ll be doing.