I’m starting to understand why moving house is the third most stressful experience in your life. 
We’re only at the start of the process and already the brownie consumption in our (hopefully soon to be former) flat has sky-rocketed

In some ways, it’s bit like the start of a relationship. I spend most of the day staring at my phone, willing it to ring. I go for a long walk round the office or go on a lengthy trip to the stationery cupboard to try and trick someone into calling me with good news when I’m not there to answer. The other day, I refreshed my email so many times that I was locked out of my email account.

And then there are the meltdowns. 
I like to consider myself to be a pretty laid-back person; I’ve never seen the point of worrying unnecessarily about things that you can’t do anything about. But there’s something about this whole process of viewings and conversations in which you reveal the most intimate details of your life with a total stranger and decisions about whether our sofas would fit in a room that seems to have left me slightly unhinged. 

Part of the problem is that I have spent most of the last month either thinking or talking about properties. I have written long checklists of what I want (and don’t want) and we’ve had endless circular conversations about what each of us is prepared to compromise on. We spend all evening on various property websites, studying floor plans and staring at photographs of other people’s homes. I wake up in the middle of the night consumed by worry about something insignificant (Where will I straighten my hair in the mornings? Will the letter box big enough for Amazon parcels?) and have to add it to my ever-growing list of questions.
On Sunday morning, after a particularly epic meltdown on Saturday night, we sat in bed and made the latest in a series of complicated spreadsheets to determine what we could and couldn’t afford. Having come to a reasonable conclusion, my sanity demanded that I get up and do something completely different with my morning before I analysed the figures to the point of madness. It was only natural that I headed straight to the kitchen. The familiar rhythm of cracking eggs and stirring together ingredients did more for than even the best spreadsheet could. 
Really though, I made brownies because I knew that I would need them to help me make some big scary grown up phone calls this week. 

Toasted hazelnut brownies
Very vaguely adapted from an original recipe in The Telegraph
Yield: 16 brownies

I bought my ground hazelnuts from a supermarket in France where they are pretty easy to find, I presume because they are used in various fancy French desserts. You can, of course, grind your own. The hazelnut flavour is not particularly pronounced – it’s more of a warm background note – so I think it’s nice to add some chopped hazelnuts either on top or through the batter. These brownies freeze very well. 
  • 300g (12 oz) dark chocolate (I used 70%), chopped roughly
  • 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup
  • eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30g (just under 1/2 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground hazelnuts
  • Roughly chopped hazelnuts to scatter on top

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 22cm square tin.
  2. Spread the ground hazelnuts out on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes until just turning golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, slowly melt the chocolate and butter. Make sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. When melted, remove from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
  4. Add the maple syrup to the chocolate mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one by one and the vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated. Sift the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the mixture and finally fold in the toasted hazelnuts until combined.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, scatter with chopped hazelnuts and bake for 20-30 minutes. The brownies should still be moist but should be set in the middle; if you stick a toothpick in, it won’t come out clean but it won’t have any raw batter on it.
  6. Allow the brownie to cool before transferring to a wire rack and cutting into pieces.

    39 Responses to "toasted hazelnut flourless brownies"
    1. Are you a mind-reader? I was looking for a flourless hazelnut chocolate cake recipe to make cupcakes out of to bring to the office. Do you think this will work in the form of a cupcake? I want to cut the cupcakes open and then fill with them with a filling and these brownies look just perfect!!! Hope the house-moving stress is over soon!!!

    2. Jenny @ BAKE says:

      These brownies look gooey and delicious! I hope oyu get good news on the house front soon, I just keep trying to believe in fate! it will show up, it will be perfect and it will be mine!

    3. Ah ha! There are the brownies from instagram. I know the feeling of moving too. We’re in the process of selling our home (has been on the market since August 2012) and it’s such a lengthly process. So stressful! On top of it all, we’ll have to figure out where we’re going to live next once someone buys our home. Craziness. Pass the brownies, please!

    4. london bakes says:

      @Antonia – Why yes, yes I am. I think you could bake them in the form of cupcakes and they’d be fine but they probably won’t rise as much as a normal cupcake would and you’d need to fill the batter to the top. Alternatively, you could sub ground hazelnuts into any recipe that calls for ground almonds if that helps?

    5. Flourless AND sweetened with maple syrup?! Wow, these sound really good. The process of buying a place is bonkers. It sounds particularly mad in the UK – I remember listening to my sister’s frustration as they were trying to sell her flat and buy another, and there was a chain of 6 or 7 successful sales that had to go through in order for it to happen. When we bought our apartment in Stockholm I was still back in Canada and had to just trust that the photos I was being sent were indeed what the place really looked like. It ended up just fine, but was a scary and stressful process. Brownies definitely would have helped.

    6. When I feel like I am going totally mad and about to have a breakdown I do exactly the same thing, I head to the kitchen and work out what I can bake with what is in. It’s such a comfort, when there is chaos you know that mixing certain things together and putting it in the oven will results in something wonderful! I love using ground nuts in place of flour, it’s one of my favourite ingredients at the moment. They look delicious.

    7. Good luck moving house, it sounds quite stressful but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. I know I get overwhelmed when I have to pack my suitcase to head to university, I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to have to pack all your belongings. These brownies look like the perfect way to cope with all the craziness. Luckily, brownies don’t take too many dishes. :)

    8. Alex says:

      Looks delicious! Good luck with the continued house hunting :)

    9. The color and texture of these brownies alone have me drooling! And flour-less… totally bookmarking these bad-boys!

    10. Jeanine says:

      these look so good! I want one for breakfast right now… So sorry to hear of your moving troubles, I hope you find just the right place soon!

    11. Shanna says:

      Ugh, there is nothing fun about the place-hunting process, and I do not envy you… except for the fact that you’ve got the good sense to make these in the midst of it! Seriously, Kathryn, wow. These are beautiful. Bookmarking!

      Crossing my fingers for you and hoping the Right Place comes soon. Once it does, I’ll be so ready to rejoice with you! : )

    12. OH MY GOD. You are incredible. These look just PERFECT!

    13. I can totally relate – i consider myself a very low-stress person, but when we were searching for a home, that completely tested my levels of sanity. I can also relate to how something so familiar + calming as doing a little baking can completely restore your sanity (or at the least, distract + relax you). And these brownies look just lovely!

    14. Rebecca says:

      These look beautiful. I’m also about to embark on London property-hunting (renting) and am still so naive as to look forward to the floor plans and photographs and visits and spreadsheets!

    15. brandi says:

      these are beautiful. flourless brownies are one of my favorite things. i think these should definitely help when making grown up decisions :)

    16. good luck! i so know what you mean. i’ve moved three countries and feel that parts of me still exist in another sphere! certainly some of my belongings too. you know, when you find a place where you can ‘see yourself’ live you will get a feeling that will tell you so. that’s the think about homes. they have a way of claiming you.

      in the meantime keep baking. you’re on to a good stress buster! x

    17. this post is so depressing… I know you don’t mean it to be but i’m going through this now, looking for a London property… I just wish I had the power of magic… luckily you have these stunning brownies to help cheer you along… I need to bake them i guess.

    18. So sorry about your meltdowns! Hope these brownies made it better – they look amazing!

    19. Girl, I hear ya! Moving is the pits! Good thing there are chocolate brownies in this world to make us feel better:)

    20. bakingbeardy says:

      We had people touring our flat recently – also horrible! They’d come in while we were eating and you’d have to make small talk in front of the Foxton’s people. A bit awkward! If I recall correctly, you’re in NW London? What are are you considering?

    21. Oh I totally understand your pain! It took a *long* time to find out little flat with so many disappointments along the way. I promise you’ll find the perfect place and wonder what all the fuss was about eventually though. Especially if you have a few trays of brownies to help you along the way :-)

    22. Your brownies look absolutley delicious! Hope the move all comes together for you, with as little trauma as is possible!

    23. this looks SO good right about now. i’m craving chocolate hardcore and these look like the perfect remedy! i hate moving. like with a passion. it’s one thing i loathe in life the most. good luck with yours, it’ll be worth it in the end!! :)

    24. These brownies look so good. A perfect pick-me-up to help move. I have just moved within the last 6 months, and next time, I will not try to pack the house up myself. So stressful.

    25. Oh do I feel your pain. We just bought our first house last year and you forget how difficult it is until right in the middle of the process. Keep those brownies handy and hang in there!

    26. The pictures of these brownies just made my night! and speaking from a woman who has moved five times in five years, chocolate helps and so does plenty of deep breaths.

    27. Oh, man, moving is so stressful! Brownies can cure the stress though. Brownies are Paul’s favorite!

    28. Wow, what a stunning recipe. I had to take a double-take when I read that the entire recipe containsonly 50g ground hazelnuts and a whopping 300g of dark chocolate. This sounds absolutely divine and I like the scattering of toasted hazelnuts on top. While I am all for unadorned brownies it is sometimes nice to have a bit of contrasting texture in a brownie!

    29. Don’t they just look like fabulously indulgent ‘save me from my troubles’ brownies… Yum!

    30. Lovely recipe, Kathryn! These look absolutely divine and perfect for de-stressing during your move. Wishing you lots of luck with everything to come!

    31. Dana says:

      Yowza! What beauties! Lovely job, friend!

    32. fussypear says:

      These look gorgeous, I’m thinking of serving them warm as a pud with a bit of a raspberry compote and some creme fraiche.

    33. Erin says:

      Oh my goodness yes. After we bought our house about a year and a half ago we both swore we would stay here forever because we never wanted to go through that process again.
      And brownies…so appropriate. My mother-in-law once said you should always have some chocolate on hand when you are discussing finances. ;)

    34. This recipe looks so amazing! And what is better than hazelnuts and chocolate, I’d like to know :D Moving can be so awful :( But I bet these brownies can solve a lot of problems :D

    35. Anonymous says:

      Made these on the other side of the pond for a coworker with a gluten allergy. Happy to say they didn’t disappoint! Huge fan of your blog, can’t wait to make more of your gems. Cheers,

    36. Ashley says:

      in.need.of.brownies. These look fantastic! So thick!

    37. Moving house is so exhausting, especially in London! I had never in my life had to provide the kind of information that we did when we moved into a flat together.. and this was out of town! I shudder to think if we’d tried to nab a place within city limits. Chocolate be thy salvation, girl. Just let it smooth the rough edges until you’ve moved. And you’ll drop any weight you gain in the moving boxes part, or the walking around, getting to know your new ‘hood part.

    38. These look incredible. The ingredient list is really impressive, too. Yum!

      And sorry about your moving woes. I hope it’s all over soon. I’m sure it’ll all be worth it once you’re settled in. :)

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