I don’t want to talk about how I went down a nasty black hole yesterday watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills all day. I’m one season behind because Hulu hasn’t uploaded the latest season yet. Come on Hulu, get it together! In my defense though, I did spend the day shooting a few recipes, and had the show playing in the background so work did get done, I promise you that. I mean sure it was slower than usual because I kept stopping to watch, but it did get done and that’s what is important here. I also don’t want to talk about how I practically watched/did not watch the entire season in one day, including the three parts of the reunion. Someone help me, it’s a guilty pleasure and now that I’ve shared it with you I feel a lot better. I don’t want to talk about any of that because it’s not important. I do, however, want to talk about these Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Shortcakes. They deserve to be talked about. They’re important.
I think it’s time to take a break from the Classic Strawberry Shortcake we all know and love. I know it’s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of strawberry shortcakes especially during summer. So much so that I think it’s a good idea to make a different variation every now and then in order to not get bored of it. With that being said, I wanted to create a shortcake with a twist. So chocolate shortcakes just made perfect sense. Nutella and banana and hazelnuts then were a must because as we all know, chocolate loves bananas and bananas love nutella. Now you have two shortcake flavors to make this summer. You’re winning the shortcake game, I promise.
Let’s start with the chocolate biscuits for our shortcakes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and instant espresso powder.
**Tip: Whenever I make anything with chocolate I always add a tiny bit of ground cinnamon and espresso powder because it enhances the chocolate taste and flavor. It makes things more chocolatey.**
Add the cold butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender, two knives or potato masher, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas.
**Note: You can do this with your hands, it’ll probably be quicker, but just make sure to work fast so that the heat from your hands doesn’t warm up the butter too much.**
Stir in the dark chocolate chips until evenly combined. Feel free to use semi-sweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips if you have that on hand. If the chips are rather large, you can run a knife through the chocolate and roughly chop it.
Stir in the buttermilk with a rubber spatula until just combined. Try not to over-mix the dough at this point because it’ll end dry and tough, and that’s the complete opposite of what the shortcakes should be.
Use a medium ice cream scoop and portion out the dough into even mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to evenly space them out because they will spread out. And because too much chocolate is never a thing, feel free to add a few pieces of chocolate on top of each dough mound.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven until set and browned around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until cool enough to touch.
**Note: These are awesome when assembled warm, so you can rewarm them if need be right before assembling and serving.**
Split the biscuits and slather lots of nutella on the bottom of each. Go ahead and add as much as you think is necessary. Don’t be shy. This isn’t the moment for that. If you’re having a bad day, add more.
Add a spoonful of fresh whipped cream (a classic ingredient for shortcakes) a few banana slices, and then sandwich with the top half of the biscuit. Finish things off with a bit more whipped cream and a sprinkling of hazelnuts.
**Note: Because nutella is made with hazelnuts, that’s what I used on top as garnish, but feel free to use walnuts, pecans or even almonds on top if that’s what you have on hand.**
These would be great with fresh strawberries as well, especially now since they’re in season in California and starting to pop up in other parts. Chocolate and strawberries as we know go so well together so feel free to swap out those bananas.
With all shortcakes, they’re better when assembled right before serving, that way the biscuits don’t get soggy. These have an added freshness because of the bananas. Since bananas turn brown so quickly, it’s best to slice right before assembling as well.
If you do want to plan ahead though for a dinner party or gathering, you can bake off the chocolate biscuits ahead of time and store them at room temperature in an airtight container or well wrapped in plastic. Beat the cream the day of and keep in the fridge until ready to use. Then just put together and serve whenever you’re ready.
In case you don’t know how to make fresh whipped cream, I’ll run it through with you. Beat heavy whipping cream on high with an electric mixer. It doesn’t matter how much cream, it can be as much or as little as you’d like. Then once it starts getting thick, add powdered sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons, and a splash of vanilla extract. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Then you’re good to go!
This is the perfect dessert to serve when you really want to impress someone. So keep this under your sleeve and pull it out whenever you’re in need of a show-stopping dessert. Or just when you need to get your chocolate fix, let’s be honest. Even if you don’t want to impress anyone, impress yourself. You deserve it.
- 1⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 large egg
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)
- 1 cup heavy whipped cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 bananas, sliced
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder. Add the butter and cut in with your hands, pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the chocolate chips. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg with the buttermilk, and pour into the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until just combined and evenly moistened.
- Using a medium ice cream scoop and portion out the biscuits onto the prepared baking pans, making sure to space them out evenly. Sprinkle with a few chocolate chips, if you want that added chocolate flavor on top. Bake until set and browned around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until cool enough to touch.
- In the meantime, beat the heavy cream on high with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.
- To assemble the shortcakes, split the biscuits and spread the bottom halves with nutella. Add a spoonful of whipped cream, a few slices of bananas, and sandwich with the top half of each biscuit. Top with a bit more whipped cream and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately and enjoy!