[She was cutting shapes with her couture scissors - Three chocolates gianduja bites]

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If you’re anything like me, you love chocolate. You also love to make chocolates. But knowing how your kitchen, clothes and state of mind will be at the end of the process, you put that chocolate thermometer back in the cupboard and while you’re at it, grab that box full of chocolates from Pierre Hermé Paris.
This is what happens when I, ahem, make chocolates.

Although, given that just the thought of tempering chocolate or precoating ganache slabs, makes you smile from happiness, you find that your way of making chocolates is somewhat frustrating. And you definitely don’t enjoy those delicious Pierre Hermé’s truffles as much as you should.
So, you end up buying tons of books on confections and chocolates; and read them, on your favourite couch with your favourite box of store-bought petits chocolats. At that exact moment, you feel a little better – the 100g of magnesium you’ve just had is starting to do wonders on your mind, and you’re no longer frustrated (just so you remember: you got frustrated in first instance, because the chocolates you’re eating aren’t yours; and by yours, I mean homemade).

Beware though. As soon as the soothing effect of the magnesium wears off, you’ll undergo severe disappointment.
Luckily for you, my years of chocolate-eating experience have taught me a lot about chocolate making. And I have the perfect recipe for the messy and lazy chocolatiers you – ahem, we – are: firm gianduja.

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Gianduja, pronounced jeeon-doo-ya, originates in Italy and more specifically, in Piemonte; which is the place where most of my paternal family comes from.
It is basically a mixture of ground nuts, icing sugar and chocolate. While the usual ratio is 1:1:1, you can tweak it without danger as it’s unlikely to separate or get spoiled. Thank the fat system for that; gianduja is indeed almost entirely made of fat (and sugar) and thus, can’t be referred to as an emulsion. Just pure fat. Who would ever thought that fat could look so sexy?

At this point, you might not see how gianduja can solve all – I do really mean, all – your problems.
Well, if you only gave me the time to explain. Have a chocolate and stop being rude.
Gianduja is yummy. How could nuts, sugar and chocolate, all mixed together, not be yummy? It’s pretty. And chocolaty. But more than that, it’s so easy to make that it’s almost instant reward with no kitchen-cleaning involved.

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Petits carrés de gianduja aux trois chocolats
Adapted from Peter Greweling’s chocolates and confections.

I love to serve these with coffee. They seem to disappear in a matter of seconds.
They’re sweet with a pleasant nutty flavour. But what I always crave about is their melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The process is very simple:
1. you first roast the nuts and grind them with little sugar so they for a paste
2. you mix in the remaining sugar and melted chocolate

Depending on the power of your processor, you might not be able to get a nut paste, but do not worry. Just continue processing until the nuts are very finely ground and have the same appearance as icing sugar. When you’ll add the melted chocolate, it will just form a ‘dough’ that certainly won’t be as smooth as gianduja made with nut paste, but nonetheless delicious.

Thanks to a very low water content, these will keep for months – just put them in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Petits carrés de gianduja aux trois chocolats

make 100 pieces

for the white chocolate gianduja
130g almonds, very lightly toasted
70g icing sugar
130g white chocolate, melted

for the milk chocolate gianduja
130g almonds, very lightly toasted
70g icing sugar
130g milk chocolate, melted

for the dark chocolate gianduja
130g hazelnuts, very lightly toasted
70g icing sugar
130g dark chocolate, melted

Line a 30x30cm pan with cling film.
First, make the white chocolate gianduja: grind the almonds with a teaspoon of icing sugar until liquefied. Add the remaining sugar and chocolate. Mix until it all comes together.
Temper the gianduja by tabling it on a cold surface (marble is great) or just agitate vigorously, until the mixture reaches 27°C.

Spread into the prepared tin and chill while you get on with the milk and dark chocolate giandujas. Just repeat the same operations as for the white chocolate gianduja.

Once set, cut into small squares and serve.