Hazelcups studded with sweet chunks of dates and filled with a chocolatey Nutella inspired avocado pudding and everything laced with the deep, intoxicating flavor of maple syrup. These Chocolate Maple Date Hazelcups are the bomb. Like, a mega-sweet chocolate bomb that explodes in your mouth.
The pudding consistency combined with the hazelnuts is reminiscent of Nutella – the original recipe calls them Raw Vegan Nutella Cupcakes – but I didn’t think the Nutella taste was strong enough to name them after it. Besides, Hazelcups has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? Chocolate Maple Date Hazelcups. Mmmmn.
Chocolate. I’m in love with organic raw cacao. The flavor of chocolate is so distinct and exciting and addictive. (And rich. And delicious.) When I open a bag of cacao first thing in the morning, I can’t help the shot of adrenaline that plummets through me at the rich aroma of the dark powder. Cocoa is my caffeine.
Maple syrup. Possibly my favorite thing ever. The taste is so deep and intense (the darker the better) and it hits all the right places in my mouth. It’s sweet, but the sweetness is balanced with the other intricate tastes. I could drink the stuff all day long (hey, maybe I need to do The Master Cleanse).
Dates. Call me obsessed. I eat these by the handfuls (yep, plural) and put them in my smoothies (the chunks of sweetness in every bite are SUPERB) and make all kinds of desserts with them. Like these Hazelcups. Dates are super sweet.
Hazelcups. A crust in the shape of a cup made of hazelnuts. The word is of my own invention but the crust itself is definitely dependable (I use a similar recipe to make healthy raw pie crust: almonds & dates or walnuts & maple syrup or coconut & honey). The hazelnuts go really well with the avocado pudding in the center of the “cupcake” to give that Nutella feel.
WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE???
Anyway, while they might not taste exactly like Nutella… at least the first ingredient isn’t white refined sugar! That stuff is at least 75% sugar and vegetable oil and is only composed of 13% hazelnuts. The cocoa is fat reduced and processed. It even has 8.7% skim milk powder (eek!). Not to mention the soy byproducts (read up about soy lecithin here) and the fake vanilla flavoring.
Made with raw hazelnuts and organic, unprocessed cacao powder, I think it’s safe to say this recipe is a LOT healthier. Also, avocados… well those might just be one of the healthiest foods in the world. And the taste? Chocolatey, sweet, rich, delicious. I’d take these over Nutella any day of the year. So much more decadent and the taste is so much deeper, richer, with so many layers of taste and such a depth of flavor…
The perfect balance of sweetness and richness paired with the just-crumbly-enough texture of the cups that are studded with sweet tiny chunks of dates and pieces of crumbled hazelnuts, with smooth chocolate pudding spilling into the center? Chocolate heaven decadence.
These are completely raw – no cooking or heat – and also vegan, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, legume-free, egg-free, coconut-free and flourless. I almost named them Rawcups instead of Hazelcups. But, you know, hazelcups sounds pretty gorgeous.
The pudding is made of avocados. They are one of my favorite foods ever. I eat them by themselves, with tomatoes, on salads, in chocolate-y desserts… I love peeling the skin off and biting into it like an apple, or slicing one up and salting it… you can’t go wrong any way with avocados. I’m an Avocadoholic.
I’m also a Cocoaholic, so these are definitely my kind of dessert. And you guys know how much I love the taste of nuts (Nuttaholic?).
These are very similar to the original recipe. They have the same crumbly, nutty, chocolate-y cups infused with maple syrup and sweet dates (which also helps the crumbly mixture hold together). The cups are sticky and moldable and sweet; the hazelnuts help balance out the intensity and rich flavor of the cacao and give it a more balanced sweetness. The middle is a chocolate maple syrup avocado pudding that pairs well with the hazelnut flavor of the cups (heyyy Nutella!) to give just the slightest illusion of that beloved – but unfortunately very sugary – chocolate hazelnut spread.
These Hazelcups are very rich and chocolate-y!
What’s more: they’re not hard to make and actually pull themselves together pretty quick. I was only in the kitchen 20 minutes or so and these don’t require any kind of cooking. The ingredient list is not horrendously long either and these chocolate hazelcups will stay good for a while in the fridge.
What are you waiting for? Get cooking! (I mean preparing… these are completely raw.) Chocolate hazelnut date heaven awaits you! Let your tongue swoon in its decadence. Rich and sweet and – oh look! Chocolate.
- For the hazelcups:
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 2 cups dates
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp ceylon cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- For the pudding filling:
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- For the topping:
- 1 tbs hazelnut powder (4-5 whole hazelnuts) (optional)
- Pulse hazelnuts and cocoa in a food processor until crumbly. Add dates, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and vanilla and run food processor until combined. You should end up with a thick, sticky chocolate-hazelnut mixture: perfect for the crust of the hazelcups.
- Scoop the hazelnut mixture into silicone cupcake molds (or muffin tins or even small cups) and press down so it forms a crust along the bottom and sides of the mold, leaving space for the filling. Stick in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- While the “crust” is chilling/firming, make the filling. In a bowl, smash an avocado with a fork until smooth; make sure to get all the clumps out. Slowly combine cocoa (a handful at a time) and stir in maple syrup and melted coconut oil as well. I stirred everything together by hand (with a fork) but feel free to use an electric mixer if you prefer.
- Spoon the chocolate avocado pudding into the hazelcups.
- Crush a tablespoon of hazelnuts (I used a coffee grinder to make a powder) and sprinkle on top. (Optional)
- Eat right away or let chill in the fridge. They’ll stay good for a couple weeks.
Use any cocoa powder you want; I use raw organic unsweetened cacao powder.
Make sure you coconut oil is MELTED before you try mixing the filling together, otherwise you might end up with chunks of solid coconut oil in your pudding.
I used silicone cupcake baking molds that are non-stick; if you use something else you might want to brush with coconut oil to keep them from sticking.
Feel free to substitute: honey (or other liquid sweetener) for maple syrup, any type of nuts in place of the hazelnuts, or spices of choice (nutmeg, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, etc.). Adding some shredded coconut is not a bad idea. Keep in mind that without the hazelnuts, this recipe won’t resemble Nutella like it was intended to. Substitutions will also alter the taste, possibly (potentially in a good way!).
It’s good to eat a variety of nuts in place of the typical almonds or cashews (although cashews are my favs) and shifting things up from time to time. Variety is queen. You also want to eat diversely to maximize your consumption of different nutrients. Hazelnuts are definitely unique. Why stick to eating just one nut when you can have all the nuts your little mouth desires?
Nuts, nuts, good to your tongue,
The more you eat, the more you’ll hum,
Eat them if you wanna look young,
Nuts, nuts, in every dung.
Are dates, cacao and avocados among your favorite foods as well?
Original recipe: Raw Vegan Nutella Cupcakes by The Almond Eater