Baking Contest. Day 2: “All my hopes and dreams are in a tart shell!”

Oh hello!

So much is at stake.

This is the biggest baking related thing I’ve ever done. Sure I make cakes and desserts for friends’ birthdays and the like. But, if the desserts look horrible, my friend’s might tease me, but I don’t potentially lose a chance at 500 bucks. And they usually taste good…even if it’s a brick of red velvet cake (Death Cake) or a seasonally inappropriate pumpkin cheesecake with a hazelnut ganache that separated (I now know why it did that…). or my tiramisu cake recipe that I doubled which only made a cake and a half….for whatever reason. But this…if it’s not pretty…the judge might mark me off or not eat it all together.

I’m getting visions of Gordon Ramsey yelling at me for sloppy plating. It’s terrifying.

So, after the epic cookie mess-up of yesterday…I have been looking forward to things going smoothly for the rest of the tart. I’ve planned it out. Been extra careful. Overly cautious. Usually, if I place too much emphasis on something, that means it’s going to crash and burn. As of now (touch wood) nothing has gone wrong. Sure, I wanted to finish the tart earlier than I did…but I think doing it now is best.

And it came out so pretty! I really do think it is the most attractive baking item I’ve ever created. And that’s saying Image

something. More on that later.

I love this recipe. It’s super great and combines everything from dark chocolate to hazelnuts. And if Nutella taught me anything, it’s that chocolate and hazelnuts are a match made in heaven.

Everything went smoothly (which includes a beautiful and shiny ganache). I baked the cookies and they came out nice and crispy. I roasted the hazelnuts and their shells came right off. I baked the pie shell with no incident AND there was enough shell to go all the way up the sides of the tart tin (which hasn’t happened before).

Coincidentally, this is the 3rd time I’ve made this tart. 3 is my favorite number. And isn’t the saying, “third time’s a charm”? I feel that this bodes well. Combine that with the fact that the tart is actually pretty…awesome.

When we went to Italy, we had these flourless chocolate cakes that were absolutely amazing. They were dark, gooey, spicy and wonderful. It was the first time that I had chocolate with chili pepper flakes in it. This is one of my favorite flavor combinations.

So, while I should have made those little cakes for this contest, I’ve payed homage to them by including the chili pepper flakes. I also added cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. I think it ties it all together really well.

The tart is currently chilling in the fridge. I mean chilling as both hanging out and cooling down. Tomorrow I will drop it off and it will get judged. I am excited. I am nervous. I cannot wait!

I know I tried my best. I know this is one of the highest quality things I’ve put together so far. Look at me. Sooo flash.

Here we go. I got the original recipe from Real Simple. But, as I said, I’ve made a few changes. And, I used Whittaker’s chocolate, since that’s one of the requirements of the contest. But, it’s amazing chocolate, so I am fine with it.

Molly’s Hero Day Baking Contest Entry:

Hazelnut and Chocolate ganache tart with sea salt


  • 1  cup  hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2  cups  crushed chocolate wafer cookies (see wafer cookie post)
  • 6  tablespoons  (3⁄4 stick) coconut oil,  melted
  • 1 1/2  cups  heavy cream
  • 12  ounces  dark chocolate, chopped (I used 72% cocoa for the entry, but I’ve also used 80% which is amazing as well.)
  • 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1  teaspoon  flaky sea salt


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the hazelnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Rub the warm nuts in a clean dish towel to remove the skins (discard the skins).
  2. In a food processor, finely grind 3/4 cup of the hazelnuts. Add the crushed cookies and coconut oil and pulse until moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan.
  3. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry, 10 to 12 minutes (if the crust puffs up during baking, gently press it down with the back of a spoon). Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the cream, cinnamon, vanilla, and pepper flakes just to a boil.j
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth.
  6. Pour into the cooled tart shell.
    Image6.5 Obsessively spread the chocolate ganache over the tart.
    6.75 Artistically sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.Image
  7. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, or overnight.
  8. Sprinkle with the salt just before serving. For the easiest slicing, use a thin, sharp knife, wiping it clean and running it under hot water between slices.

Enjoy. I will let you know the final outcome!



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