These toasted hazelnut chocolate chip muffins are absolutely jam-packed packed with so much crunchy, nutty chocolatey goodness. They're really easy to make, and use freshly toasted hazelnuts in two different ways to make sure that toasty, hazelnut-y flavor is present in every single bite.
Two people who tried tester muffins described them as "Ferrero Rocher in muffin form," so if that sounds appealing to you, you're in the right place.
This recipe for toasted hazelnut chocolate chip muffins actually started as a hazelnut tea cake I made in my first chaotic week of pastry school. That recipe used Gianduja, a creamy hazelnut chocolate that is super hard to find for home baking purposes. It had a very soft, delicate cake-like crumb, and was so, so good. I've been wanting to develop a muffin recipe for a while now and when I was thinking about my perfect muffin flavor, I just kept coming back to how much I loved that tea cake.
I've adapted that original recipe so much at this point they barely resemble each other, but the chocolate and hazelnut inspiration hasn't gone anywhere. In fact, it's even more pronounced in these toasted hazelnut chocolate chip muffins than it was in the original tea cake.
Instead of Gianduja chocolate, we're stirring in toasted hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips. Instead of a tender, cake-like texture, we have the larger, more crumbly texture you expect from muffins. And while the original recipe used a bit of almond flour, we're pulverizing a portion of the toasted hazelnuts to make a hazelnut flour that will really emphasize the toasted hazelnut flavor that gives these toasted hazelnut chocolate chip muffins their name. That's in addition to the chunky toasted hazelnuts that get stirred in with the mini chocolate chips at the end.
So yeah. Hazelnut City, population: these muffins.
the secret to mixing muffin batter
If you've ever made muffins that had weird tunnel-like cavities inside after baking, that means you over mixed your batter. Gluten development is the enemy of tender muffins — gluten creates structure and the batter will tighten up and trap air when the muffins bake. That's what causes the tunnels. You don't want that!
When you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, your goal is to combine them in as few movements as possible. The perfect time to add your mix-ins (that's chopped hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips here) is right before the wet ingredients and dry ingredients are fully combined. Add the chopped hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips when you can still see some of the dry mixture in the bowl — the dry ingredients will finish mixing in as you stir in the nuts and chocolate. As soon as the hazelnuts and chocolate chips are evenly distributed and there's no dry bits left, stop mixing!
A final note: Muffin batter is lumpy and clumpy — that's okay. The lumps will bake out in the oven.
a few quick recipe notes
- Blanched, peeled hazelnuts work best for these muffins. These are the hazelnuts I usually order online. If you can only find hazelnuts with skins on, you'll need to remove the skins by rolling the toasted nuts around in a clean towel until the skins fall off. You may need to toast them again after you remove the skins — you want the pale flesh to be a deep golden brown color.
- TEMPERATURES MATTER. If the eggs and buttermilk are cold or even just cool when you stir in the melted butter, the butter will begin to firm up. You will get a very different texture than if you stir the melted butter into room temperature eggs and buttermilk. See FAQ (below) for how to get eggs and buttermilk to room temp fast.
- I use a large OXO cookie scoop to portion my muffin batter into the tins.
- My fave muffin tin is this 12-well standard sized muffin pan by USA Pan (they're based in my hometown of Pittsburgh!). It's super easy to clean and I like the wide rim which makes it easy to pull in and out of the oven without accidentally digging a thumb into your muffins. These cupcake liners fit in that tin perfectly.
- The 30 minute resting period after you finish mixing gives the baking powder time to activate and helps the muffins rise in the oven. Technically this step is optional; you can bake them right away, but you'll get better results if you let the batter rest first.
- If you're making JUMBO muffins, this recipe makes about 6 muffins and they'll need to bake for 25-30 minutes — after 25 minutes start checking every 2 mins until a toothpick comes out clean.
- To get a nice crunchy top, you'll want a generous sprinkling of granulated sugar over the top of each muffin before baking. I tried these with turbinado sugar (aka raw sugar) too, but the raw sugar made the tops sticky and moist. I prefer the crispy crunchy top you get from the granulated sugar.
- The rolled oat topping is optional, but if you decide to go for it make sure you're using QUICK COOKING rolled oats. Regular rolled oats won't soften enough in the oven and are unpleasant to eat. I had some quick cooking rolled oats in my pantry and sprinkled them on top of one muffin batch and they added such a nice nutty flavor and texture to the muffin tops that I couldn't not include that as an option. But if you don't already have them on hand, it's definitely not necessary to go out and buy them just for these muffins.
Each muffin is about 3½ tablespoons of batter and each well of the tin should be about ⅔ of the way full.
Yes. Just be careful with the blender — some blenders are designed to make nut butters. Don't let the blender run for too long or that's where you'll end up!
After baking so much with real buttermilk in pastry school I can tell you the results you get using buttermilk hacks like this just aren't great. I do recommend using real buttermilk to make these. If you absolutely can't find it, the next best substitute is plain, whole milk yogurt (not Greek yogurt)... but your muffins will be a little more dense than if you used buttermilk.
The reason I used mini chocolate chips is because they're lighter and less likely to sink to the bottom of the muffins. You can certainly use regular chocolate chips, I'm not going to show up at your house and smack them out of your hands (it's a free world, etc, etc), but if they sink to the bottom of the muffins and you're unhappy about that well... don't blame me!
Put the eggs in a bowl of very hot tap water for 5-10 minutes. For the buttermilk you can microwave it in 5-7 second bursts, stirring in between until it's lukewarm to the touch.
I usually do try to provide measurements in cups with my baking recipes, but measuring by volume is deeply inconsistent and you might not get great results. The measurements also didn't translate neatly to volumetric measurements and I was ending up with a lot of 1 and 2/7th of a cup measurements and I really didn't feel like doing more math. So if you'd like to go ahead and convert this all to cups you're welcome to do so on your own time. Or, you can buy a kitchen scale — they're very inexpensive and will make you a much better baker!
other recipes inspired by pastry school
- Rosemary chocolate chip loaf cake
- Pineapple habanero jam
- Chocolate wrapped chocolate chip slice-n-bake cookies
- Crumb cake ice cream
toasted hazelnut chocolate chip muffins
- 170 grams blanched hazelnuts
- 170 grams all-purpose flour
- 85 grams sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt
- 113 grams buttermilk (room temperature)
- 113 grams unsalted butter (melted)
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 85 grams mini chocolate chips
- additional sugar (for topping)
- quick-cooking rolled oats (optional, for topping)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Arrange hazelnuts on a sheet pan and toast until dark golden brown 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan every 5 minutes so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Weigh 57 grams of the toasted hazelnuts into the bowl of a mini food processor. Process until the hazelnuts are a very fine powder, almost like a nut flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Rough chop the remaining hazelnuts and set aside (these will get mixed in later). This can be a fairly large chop — you don’t want any whole hazelnuts, but halves and quarters are fine.
- To the ground hazelnuts in the mixing bowl, add all purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and whisk to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Then pour in the melted butter, whisking constantly. Whisk vigorously until very well combined. The butter will firm up if the egg and buttermilk are too cold so make sure they’re truly lukewarm before you add the butter!
- Use a spatula to gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. You don’t want to develop gluten here, so the goal is to mix in as few movements as possible. When there is just a bit of dry mixture still visible, add the chopped hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips. Continue folding just until no dry bits remain and the inclusions are evenly distributed. Do not overmix.
- Cover and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. Use a large cookie scoop to divide the batter between the tins. You may have extra batter — divide it between the tins or into any that need a bit more.
- Top each muffin with ½ teaspoon granulated sugar (mandatory) and quick rolled oats (optional).
- Bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool 5-10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
- To get eggs to room temperature quickly place them in a bowl of very hot water for 5-10 minutes.
- To get buttermilk to room temperature quickly microwave in 5-7 second bursts, stirring in between.
- If you're using a large food processor or blender to make the hazelnut flour be careful — if run them too long they'll turn into hazelnut butter! Stop once it looks like flour.