Black and Gold: Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

There's no better occasion for a slightly over-the-top dessert than New Year's Eve. A dense chocolate hazelnut torte, coated in dark chocolate ganache, jeweled with candied hazelnuts and topped with a halo of spun sugar is great for a special occasion. The torte is soft and dense since it is flourless, with a slight graininess from the ground hazelnuts. This was a crowd pleaser as the chocolate and hazelnut flavours really come through without being cloyingly sweet. It can also sit out without refrigeration so guests can enjoy it at their leisure while waiting for the countdown.  

The recipe is somewhat work-intensive, but for a special occasion it is well worth the extra time. The actual process is not difficult but there is a good amount of prep work (chopping and melting chocolate, toasting and grinding hazelnuts, caramelizing sugar, etc.) 

This was the first time I made spun sugar. It was fun to (carefully!) fling the hot caramel between two skewers and watch the glossy strands form. The glittery gold threads were the perfect touch for a dessert to ring in the new year.

Recipe after the jump!