Fanny was often thought of as 'kooky' to say the least, but her culinary mission was simply to show us all how to make the most delicious things to eat and share using the most straightforward, most economical ingredients available. She imagined we would be insane to not follow in her footsteps, creating weird dish after wonderful dish, but sometimes she focused on uncomplicated techniques instead. Here, she introduces us to her Noisettes au Chocolat or Chocolate Hazelnut Rectangles. They are Hazelnuts with chocolate, shaped into rectangles. Nothing wacky, nothing bonkers, just that.
The hazelnuts need to be freed from their skins first of all. Fanny places hers on a dry baking sheet and pops into a warm oven, lowest shelf, for a few minutes until the skins rub off easily. To make it even easier, I am not daft, I pop them in a small plastic bag once they are baked and rub them together. The skins fall off, the hazelnuts can be picked out and the messy skins remain in the bag. Clearing up those flaky coverings would drive anyone round the bend.
Fanny hasn't really discussed sugar work all that much so far in the partwork, but for these rectangles she binds together the nuts with a light caramel. Fanny uses exactly 32 pieces (of equal size) loaf sugar dissolved and gently heated on a low flame. Never sure what loaf sugar is, I did some research and it seems unrefined golden granulated sugar is a good alternative. It was driving me berserk trying to find out what size the pieces should be, so I just guessed a measurement. Not worth going out of one's mind for. Fanny instructs not to touch the sugar until every grain is dissolved, then to turn the heat up to a soft rolling boil until the syrup turns to a pale straw colour. Or, if you are like me, leave it a little longer still (oops) and it will be a darker caramel. Fanny would've flipped out.
Fanny flings her nuts into the caramel and forks them around for a few moments until the syrup becomes slightly tacky. She has at hand a ready oiled tray and pours them out immediately into a big nutty lump. But fear not, she also has a cut lemon at the ready to shape the rough lump into a large rectangle. You may think dear old Fanny is as mad as a March hare, but the lemon actually works really well, doesn't stick or pull the sugar at all. Once in a large rectangle, Fanny uses a sharp knife dipped in boiling water to cut into smaller rectangles. There are enough rectangles in this recipe to drive you round the bend.
Once cooled, the smaller rectangles are dipped in softened chocolate chips, just enough to cover the base and sides. I've also added an extra-special double-dipping with hundreds and thousands. I know, I'm unbalanced, a culinary psycho. Fanny lets the small oblongs set back on a lightly oiled surface. The finished rectangles are crunchy, nutty and simply sweet, perfect for any Mad Hatters Tea Party, or perfectly sane persons afternoon snack. Nothing batty, nothing potty, nothing cuckoo, just sugar-coated, full-flavoured cheap and cheerful specialities from Fanny.