Tortini di Gianduia: Crackle-top Hazelnut Cupcakes

There are several things that I find really exciting.  Roller coasters are one; traveling is another.  And, of course, there’s that incredible smile on the adorable Mr. W’s face.    Not to mention the fact that I have this fairly unlady-like predilection for action movies and sword-and-sorcery novels.  (Yes: I admit that I have a David Eddings collection at home and I nearly completed Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series!)

But, of late, it’s the creation of new recipes that gets me tingly all over.  I actually get a thrill from trying new flavor combinations using various ingredients. 

Today’s recipe is one such combo: a chocolate cupcake made more-ish with the addition of gianduia in the batter together with a quarter-cup of the most sinister bittersweet chocolate I could get my hands on.  The resulting cupcakes were actually lighter than those I usually bake and the tops were like crackly-crisp sugar wafers with a deliciously nutty flavor.  The crumb underneath was fluffy and full-flavored with the semi-melted chocolate morsels adding oomph to both the taste and texture.

These are perfect for afternoon tea when paired with a pot of either a really good Darjeeling or a spicy chai blend.  You can also serve these as a tres chic dessert if you have guests coming for dinner.  Trust me: they’ll be thrilled to get such a treat. 

Tortini di Gianduia

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup Nutella or any similar hazelnut spread
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.  Line the cups of a standard muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

Cream together the sugar, oil, and gianduia.  Add the egg and beat until well-combined.  Add the water and milk; stir till well-mixed.  Sift in the dry ingredients; add the chocolate chips and mix to achieve a smooth batter.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup.

Bake for fifteen to eighteen minutes; makes approximately 10 cupcakes.