Homemade Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

It's hard to pick a favorite pastry or dessert at Flour Bakery + Cafe, but after working there for a year and sampling everything, I can say without a doubt that if I could only ever get one thing there again, it would be the hazelnut-almond dacquoise.

The dacquoise is a French cake composed of layers of hazelnut-almond meringue, chocolate ganache, and espresso buttercream, and it is just heavenly. While it is very rich, it's also very light at the same time. The chocolate, hazelnut, almond, and espresso flavors meld beautifully, and each layer presents a different texture. The meringue is soft and crunchy, the ganache is thick and smooth, and the espresso buttercream is light and buttery.

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

I actually never made the cake itself while working at Flour, but I did finish (pour ganache over, pipe on, and decorate) a number of them during my time there. I was excited and nervous about making the different components and assembling them myself. Making the different components is fairly simple, but assembling the cake takes a bit of patience. Give yourself plenty of time to do it.

The recipe is three pages long, and I can't begin to recreate it for you here, but if you have the cookbook or access to the recipe, these pictures will help guide you through the steps. (If you don't have the book, you can purchase it online.)

Note when you look through the pictures that I made one regular size dacquoise and one longer, skinnier one. I made the long, skinny one to bring on Christmas Eve for my aunt's birthday and the regular size one for my family to keep at home and enjoy over the weekend.

Flour Bakery Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise

Hazelnut-Almond Dacquoise In Pictures

Jeff drew three 10-by-3-inch rectangles on parchment for me to fill in with meringue.
For the second cake, he drew three 14-by-2.5-inch rectangles. 

I mixed the ground hazelnuts and almonds, confectioners' sugar, and salt
into the whipped egg whites and granulated sugar.

Then I piped the meringue and filled in the rectangles Jeff drew.

Meringue rectangle ready to be baked

All three layers of meringue ready to be baked

Chocolate ganache
When I make chocolate ganache that I want to be thick and ready to be piped, I only heat half of the cream, pour that over the chocolate, whisk it until the chocolate is all melted, and then whisk in the remaining cold cream. This cools the chocolate more quickly.

Espresso buttercream

Meringue layers that have been baked and then left in the oven overnight to dry

For each cake, I cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the meringue, wrapped it in parchment,
smeared a tiny bit of ganache on it, and secured the bottom layer of meringue to it. Then I piped
lines of chocolate ganache the length of the meringue.

Then I placed the next layer of meringue on top of the chocolate ganache layer.

Next I piped rows of espresso buttercream the length of the meringue.

And then I topped each cake with the final layer of meringue.

Using a baby offset spatula, I completely covered both of the cakes with the remaining
espresso buttercream, making sure to fill in all gaps.

And then I placed both cakes in the fridge for about an hour. This gives the buttercream a chance to harden, so it won't just melt when the chocolate ganache is poured on top.

To finish the cakes, I reheated the chocolate ganache to get it to a pourable consistency and then
poured it around the edges and down the middle of each cake.

I swiped any excess ganache off the top using a large offset. And then I covered any exposed buttercream, as in the picture of above, with more ganache.
You don't have to go too crazy with this because the sides of the cake get covered with toasted, sliced almonds too.
The final touch is to top the cake with evenly spaced hazelnuts.
Ideally, you cut slices of the cake by cutting between the hazelnuts.
(And the hazelnuts and almonds should be toasted a bit longer, but I was running out of time and the oven was being really slow.)

Because this was a birthday cake, after the ganache cooled and firmed up,
I melted some white chocolate and piped a message on the cake.

And then the best part: cut, serve, and eat.

Everyone loved the cake -- especially the birthday girl! While it does seem like a lot of work, if you have the time and the patience, you can do it. And it will definitely be worth all the effort.

What's your favorite bakery treat?


Millionaire's Shortbread

Looking for one last treat to add to your holiday cookie plates? You've come to the right place.

We had a cookie swap at work earlier this week, and I decided to try out the millionaire's shortbread recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I've had tremendously good results using Baked bakery recipes in the past (just check out these PB crispy bars and Baked brownies or this bûche de Noël), so I knew the shortbread would be a good choice.

Millionaire's shortbread is composed of a layer of shortbread, a layer of caramel, and a topping of chocolate glaze. To me it sounded just like a caramel Twix.

The recipe was mostly straightforward, but I did run into a minor snafu with the caramel. I don't know if it's because I've never made caramel with condensed milk before or whether I've gotten too used to using my candy thermometer, but the caramel did not work out the way it should have or that I thought it should have.

I started by trying the stovetop method. I had the condensed milk in the top of a double boiler over low heat for about an hour and a half, and I still didn't think the caramel looked "caramel colored," so I switched to following the instructions for cooking it in the microwave.

If you do this, I suggest using a very large bowl. The caramel boiled over, oozed down the sides of the bowl, and poured onto the microwave oven tray. I transferred what was left in the bowl to a larger bowl, cleaned out the microwave, and continued microwaving. Finally, I noticed that the caramel that clung to my spatula after each stirring was starting to feel tacky, and I was sure the caramel would set up. So I stopped cooking it and poured it over the shortbread.

It ended up being the right consistency, but this method was just a bit too touchy for me, and I think I would make the caramel differently next time. Let me know how it works out for you.

Also, because I decided to cook the caramel on the stove, I switched the directions from the original recipe and started the caramel before the shortbread, since it takes a lot longer. I'll include the microwave directions for you, but if you decide to microwave, just know that you should make the shortbread first.

Millionaire's Shortbread (adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)


Caramel Filling

28 ounces sweetened condensed milk


1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Chocolate Glaze

6 ounces dark chocolate (60% to 72%), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened


Make the caramel filling: Pour the sweetened condensed milk in the top pan of a double boiler and cook it over a pan of boiling water on low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until thick and caramel colored. Stir occasionally.

(If this does not work or you prefer to use the microwave, make the shortbread first, and then pour the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on 50 percent power for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through until smooth. Then cook on 30 percent power for 12 to 18 minutes in 2-minute increments, stirring after each, until thick and caramel colored.)

Make the shortbread: While the caramel is cooking away on the stovetop, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. (While the shortbread did not stick, I recommend also lining the pan with foil or parchment and buttering that, so you can lift the shortbread out of the pan easily. I don't like having to cut inside my pans and risking scratching them.)

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until blended.

Add 2 cups of flour and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the egg yolk and beat for a few seconds or until egg is mixed in.

Lightly flour your countertop and turn the dough out onto it. Dust the dough and your hands with flour, and work the dough into a 6-by-6-inch square.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of flour on top of the dough, and fold and knead it into the dough. Pat the dough out into a rectangle.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan, and press it into the pan.

Prick the dough all over with a fork, and bake in preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

When the caramel is ready, pour it over the cooled shortbread. Use a spatula to spread it evenly. Place pan in refrigerator, and allow caramel to cool for about 2 hours.

Make the chocolate glaze: In top of double boiler, combine chocolate, corn syrup, and butter, and cook over a pan of simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula, until smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring for about 30 seconds to cool the glaze slightly.

Pour the glaze over the caramel, and return the pan to the refrigerator, and chill for another hour, until glaze is set.

Remove the pan from the fridge 30 minutes before cutting the bars so as not to crack the glaze.

Run a knife under hot water, wipe it dry with a towel and cut the shortbread in half. Run the knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut again. You'll eventually cut the whole pan of shortbread into bars the size you choose. Remember to heat and dry your knife for every cut. I cut mine 8 by 6 and ended up with 48 squares because I like smaller pieces.

If you like caramel, chocolate, and shortbread, you will love these!

What's your favorite holiday cookie? (Feel free to leave links.)

We're heading to Connecticut today to spend Christmas with my family! Are you traveling home for the holidays?

I wish you all safe travels and a happy and healthy holiday!