Part cookie, part fudgy truffle, these Chocolate Hazelnut Fudgy Bonbons are a perfect new Christmas treat!
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Today we'll be making one of my favorite Christmas cookies: Chocolate Hazelnut Fudgy Bonbons. This recipe was passed down to me by my late grandmother, Beama. With tender fudgy cookie dough wrapped around individual Hershey's Hugs, these cookies are a decadent and delicious way to celebrate the season!
In this recipe, we will be making the cookies with hazelnuts -- meaning the end result tastes just like Nutella! You can also make these cookies with walnuts (as my Grandma did!) and the cookies will taste more like chocolate walnut fudge!
Happy holiday season! Can you believe the time is already here? This year (that shall not be named, 😉) seemed to go by so fast, yet so slow at the same time. A truly disorienting experience through and through!
Like many, I've been looking forward to the holiday season as a way to get grounded again. To re-root myself in gratefulness, positivity, and what really matters in life.
Because we are moving later this week (!!), I haven't been able to decorate the house for the holidays yet. And honestly, I'm not really much of a holiday decorator (aside from moving), either.
Instead, I celebrate the season by taking after-dinner walks to appreciate Christmas lights, watching old school Christmas movies, and -- of course -- baking.
My holiday cookie line-up tends to change from year to year -- varying based on what I'm craving, how much time I have, and even what new Christmas cookie recipes I discover. But one thing is for sure: my cookie spread almost always features these fudgy bonbons!
You see, this Christmas cookie recipe has been in my family for at least 25 years, if not more. For as long as I can remember, my Grandma Nydahl (or "Beama") made these recipes every holiday season.
What my Papa, dubbed "Mount Shastas," (since Beama would spread the white chocolate frosting on top of the mounded cookies, reminding him of snow-topped mountain peaks), I always knew there would be a few batches of the cookies in Grandma's freezer when we came for the holidays. It was a snow-peaked heaven. 🙂
In late elementary school when Beama came to visit us in the months after Papa passed away, I started to bake the cookies with her. Learning how to finely mince the nuts, that Hershey's hugs were certainly superior to Hershey's kisses, how to melt chocolate without burning it, and more.
What started as a natural interest in baking bloomed into full-blown love.
And so, every year, I come back to these cookies. To get grounded in the memories, remember our family lineage, and be grateful for my early exposure to baking. I hope these cookies help you re-root yourself this holiday season, too.
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Here at Mae's Menu, we have a variety of readers: those who are more experienced in the kitchen and want to zip straight through to the recipe and those who want to learn more about the dish, potential substitutions, and more.
To skip straight to the recipe, just click "Jump to Recipe" at the top left of this post. To browse the post quickly, just click the headings in the table of contents below.
Table of contents
- These cookies are...
- Recipe ingredients
- Ingredient substitutions
- What are bonbons?
- Does this recipe contain eggs?
- Can you make this recipe gluten-free?
- How to make these fudgy cookies...
- Pro-tips to make these cookies perfectly every time:
- How do you melt chocolate without burning it?
- A shortcut for mincing the nuts:
- Can you make this recipe at high altitude?
- How long do these cookies last?
- Can you freeze the bonbons?
- Can you double or triple this recipe?
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Other cookie and dessert recipes you'll love!
These cookies are...
- Filled with Hershey's Hugs (or Kisses!)
- Easily made with other nuts
- Perfect for cookie exchanges
- A great gift
If you are looking for a new holiday cookie recipe and like Nutella, you will love these cookies!
- Semisweet chocolate chips - use a quality brand like Ghiradelli's if you can
- Unsalted butter
- Sweetened condensed milk - make sure you don't accidentally grab evaporated milk. They're two very different ingredients!
- All-purpose flour
- Dry roasted hazelnuts - unsalted is preferable but salted also works in a pinch
- Pure vanilla extract
- Hershey's Hugs - we will need just 30 of them
- White chocolate baking pieces - chips, baking discs, or even a cut-up baking bar work for this recipe
- Vegetable oil - canola oil, vegetable oil, or even avocado oil work for this recipe
- Nuts - minced pecans or walnuts also work beautifully in this recipe!
- Butter - salted butter works in this recipe, too. Just reduce the rest of the salt in the recipe to ⅛ teaspoon.
- Chocolate chips - make a richer bonbon by using dark chocolate chips!
- Hershey's Hugs - I love using Hugs in this recipe because they break up the intensity of the chocolate, but you can use Hershey's Kisses too.
What are bonbons?
Bonbons are technically what many people would consider to be a truffle: an outside shell of chocolate with a filling inside.
These fudgy bonbons do not fit the technical definition -- they are certainly more of a cookie -- but they are inspired and similar to the original definition. Instead of a chocolate shell, there is a fudgy cookie-like exterior. Instead of filling, there is a Hershey's Hug inside. In this recipe, I will refer to them also as "cookies," as that is how my family has always thought of them. 🙂
In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds! Approachable enough to make and enjoy with the family at the holidays but still so rich and delicious!
Does this recipe contain eggs?
Whereas this recipe does contain dairy, it does not contain eggs, making it a perfect egg-free Christmas Cookie recipe for anyone who has an egg allergy!
Can you make this recipe gluten-free?
You should be able to substitute gluten-free 1-to-1 flour in for the all-purpose flour in this recipe, though I haven't tried it personally just yet. So, only do it if you are feeling adventurous and know you're assuming your own risk. 🙂 I'll report back once I've made them with gluten-free flour, too!
How to make these fudgy cookies...
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, or until it is melted and thick.
- Whisk the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla into the chocolate until smooth and creamy.
- Whisk the flour, hazelnuts, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until a thick dough forms.
- Take 2 tablespoons of dough and flatten into a ¼-inch disc. Place the Hershey's hug in the middle of the disc. Wrap the dough up around the hug and shape until smooth. Repeat with the remaining dough and Hugs.
- Place the bonbons 1- 1 ½ inches apart from each other on the cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes, until shiny and puffy.
- Let the cookies cool to room temperature on a wire cooling rack.
- Melt the white baking chocolate and vegetable oil together over low heat, whisking until smooth.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies.
- Let the chocolate harden and enjoy!
Pro-tips to make these cookies perfectly every time:
- Mince your nuts finely - we incorporate the nuts into the flour, so the finer you can dice or mince, the better. Feel free to leave a few pieces the size of small pebbles for crunch (like I did), but the majority should be very finely chopped.
- Use sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) - the condensed milk is thicker and sweeter, making this recipe super fudgy and perfect. Evaporated milk doesn't work in these cookies.
- Use the best quality baking chocolate you can find and afford - the flavor and texture of the chocolate will be front and center in this recipe, so use a brand of quality chocolate for the best experience and flavor.
- Don't overbake the bonbons - the cookies won't look done at the end of the baking time, but they should be. Take the cookies out of the oven when they are shiny and puffy and they will firm up as they cool. Whatever we do, we don't want to overbake them!
- Weigh the flour to measure it - this is something I'm a stickler on. Weigh your flour for the most accurate baking results! You'd be surprised (watch below to see the difference) how much more flour you can get by scooping it. Once I switched to a food scale (only $10 on Amazon), my baking results skyrocketed in quality and replicability.
Disclaimer: since recording this video, I have become an Amazon affiliate. So, a portion of any sales made through my food scale link will support Mae's Menu, at no additional expense to you.
How do you melt chocolate without burning it?
The key to melting the chocolate without burning it is to heat it over low and steady heat. You can do this on a double boiler (making sure the bowl of chocolate never comes in direct contact with the simmering water) or by melting the chocolate over low heat in the microwave.
To melt in the microwave, heat the chocolate in 30-second intervals over 30% heat, stirring the chocolate between intervals, or until the chocolate is melted, but still thick.
A shortcut for mincing the nuts:
Mince your nuts quickly (and painlessly) by pulsing them in a food processor. Blend them down until the pieces of nuts are the size of small pebbles and sand.
Otherwise, I like to use my Victorinox Chef Knife (only $30 on Amazon and by far my favorite knife in my collection!) and go to town chopping-- it can be pretty therapeutic!
Can you make this recipe at high altitude?
Yes, you certainly can make this recipe at high altitude. There are no leavening agents used in it so you don't have to make any alterations in it to be successful, either!
How long do these cookies last?
Leftover cookies last covered in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Can you freeze the bonbons?
You can freeze these cookies! Just seal them up in an airtight container and they will last for up to 2 months. Defrost by covering the cookies and placing them at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Can you double or triple this recipe?
This recipe is super easy to double or triple. Just multiply the ingredients by your desired factor and follow the recipe as directed, adapting the size of your mixing bowls for the larger batches and baking the bonbons in batches, if needed.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Medium and large mixing bowls
- Wire whisk
- Silicone spatula
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Food scale
- 2-Tablespoon Cookie scooper
- Large baking sheets
- Wire cooling rack
- Parchment paper
Other cookie and dessert recipes you'll love!
- High Altitude Sugar Cookies
- Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies
- High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Brookies
- Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- Lemon Bars
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Ultra chocolatey and rich, these Chocolate Hazelnut Fudgy Bonbons taste like Nutella and feature a Hershey's Hug (or Kiss!) center! Bake these crowd-pleasing Christmas cookies today!
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup finely diced dry roasted hazelnuts
- 12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1, 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 30 Hershey's Hugs, unwrapped
- ½ cup white baking chocolate pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoon vegetable oil (canola, avocado, vegetable, or sunflower)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, hazelnuts, and salt until combined.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or on low heat in the microwave (30-second intervals at 30% heat, stirring between intervals) until the chocolate is melted, but thick.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler (if using) and whisk or stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until smooth and runny.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until no streaks of flour remain. The batter will be thick.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and flatten it into a ¼-inch thick disc in your hand. Place a Hershey's hug in the center of the disc and wrap the dough up around the Hug. Smooth the bonbon out, keeping the domed shape to it. Repeat this step with the rest of the dough and Hugs until completing, placing the shaped bonbons 1 - 1 ½ inches apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes, or until the cookies are shiny and puffy. They will not look baked but will firm up as they cool.
- Move the cookie sheets to a wire rack and let the cookies cool until at room temperature.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the white chocolate baking pieces and vegetable oil. Melt over low heat (30% intervals for 20-30 seconds, stirring between intervals) until smooth and runny.
- Drizzle the white chocolate over the bonbons, dipping a spoon in the white chocolate and drizzling the chocolate over the cookies.
- Let the cookies cool for 10-15 minutes, or until the white chocolate drizzle has hardened, and enjoy!
1. Weigh your flour by measuring it for the best results. Food scales are only $10 on Amazon and are key to having consistent baking results.
2. Choose sweetened condensed milk for this recipe, not evaporated milk.
3. Finely diced pecans or walnuts can be substituted for the hazelnuts.
4. Hershey's kisses can substitute for the Hershey's Hugs.
5. These bonbons probably can be made with the same amount of gluten-free 1-to-1 flour, but I have yet to try it out myself. If you are adventurous and try it out, please let me know how it goes!
6. These bonbons last covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. They also freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
Amount Per Serving Calories 370Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 18mgSodium 68mgCarbohydrates 45gFiber 2gSugar 35gProtein 6g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dietitians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.