Now that it’s winter, I want to make hazelnut everything. While I don’t enjoy eating plain hazelnuts, once paired with chocolate or espresso, they become irresistible.
When these chocolate hazelnut cupcakes first come out of the oven, they taste like chocolate mousse, which I admit sounds weird, but incredibly delicious! But then you let them sit for a while and they firm up a little and have an amazing texture. If you want to get that chocolate mousse texture back, don’t frost your cupcakes. Instead, reheat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds and then frost.
If you don’t have time to make the frosting, a smear of Nutella would taste great! If you prefer to avoid processed foods, this homemade chocolate hazelnut butter is the way to go.
After frosting, these chocolate hazelnut cupcakes do well at room temperature, but only if your coconut oil is solid at room temperature, which it will be if it’s under 76°F. If you’re making these during the summer, definitely refrigerate them or your frosting will slide down the cupcakes. Once refrigerated, the frosting is like a firm refrigerated ganache.
Hazelnut butter is expensive so I like to make my own with blanched and roasted hazelnuts. Just process them in the food processor for about 5-10 minutes or until creamy. If that sounds like too much work, peanut butter or almond butter would work wonderfully, too. Note that the cupcakes get most of the hazelnut flavor from the frosting and not the cupcakes, so if you use another nut butter, your cupcakes most likely will taste like chocolate and the nut butter used.
Almond flour/meal or another nut flour/meal could be subbed for the hazelnut meal in this cupcake recipe. As for other flour subs, you’ll have to experiment as I haven’t had success with subbing other flours for nut flours. Let us know in the comments if you make any changes to the recipe and how they came out!
For some more hazelnut goodness, check out these gluten-free hazelnut mocha meringue cookies. If you’re into the chocolate, espresso and hazelnut combination as much as I am, these gluten-free chocolate cookies are a must make!
Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes Recipe
- 80 Hazelnut Meal A little more than 3/4 cup
- 1.5 Baking Powder
- 0.25 Salt
- 1 Dutch Processed Cocoa (115 grams)
- 2 Espresso Powder Optional
- 9 Refined Coconut Oil Melted (126 grams)
- 0.66 Honey (212 grams)
- 0.5 Unsweetened Apple Sauce Plus 2 tablespoons (168 grams)
- 4 Egg Room temperature
- 1 Pure Vanilla Extract Or Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
- 0.5 Coconut Oil (113 grams)
- 0.5 Natural Hazelnut Butter (128 grams)
- 0.5 Dutch Processed Cocoa (58 grams)
- 0.25 Honey (80 grams)
- Chopped Hazelnuts As garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with 14 liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the hazelnut meal, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder, if using. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, honey, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir just until combined. Divide the batter among the prepared liners. They should be about 4/5 full.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle no longer comes out with raw batter on it. It should have some moist crumbs on it. If the toothpick comes out totally clean, the cupcakes are likely over-baked.
- Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix together the coconut oil, hazelnut butter and cocoa powder. Stir until well combined and keep stirring until the mixture is melted.
- Remove from the heat and add in the honey. The frosting will be very runny at this point but will firm up as it cools.
- Let it cool for about 15 minutes or until no longer warm and then place the pan in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes or until the frosting is a nice spreadable consistency.
- Spread about 4 teaspoons on top of each cupcake. Top with chopped hazelnuts, if desired.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 24 hours and refrigerate anything after that for up to 3 days.