3-4 glazed or plain chocolate cake doughnuts (about 7 ounces total)
2 pinches kosher salt
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1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup skinned, toasted and chopped hazelnuts, plus more for optional garnish (see note)
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (70 percent or higher), broken into pieces
˝teaspoon vegetable shortening
Flaked sea salt, for optional garnish
Tear or crumble the doughnuts into penny-size pieces until you have about 3˝ cups, letting them fall into a mixing bowl as you work. Season with the 2 pinches of salt, then gently stir in the Nutella in tablespoon increments along with the 1/3 cup of nuts, being careful not to break up the doughnut pieces too much.
Divide the mixture into 9 or 10 equal portions and roll into compact balls. Return them to the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until somewhat firm.
Meanwhile, combine the chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on LOW in 20-second increments until melted, stirring after each one. Once the mixture is smooth, cool slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a wire cooling rack over it.
Working with one chilled doughnut ball at a time, dip the balls into the chocolate mixture to coat. While they are still wet, sprinkle each one with a few flakes of the sea salt and a few pieces of toasted hazelnut, if desired. Place on the wire rack until completely set, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes nine or 10.
Cook's note: Toast skinned hazelnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly browned and fragrant, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Cool completely before using. The coated truffles can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The chocolate surface might sweat a bit once it's thoroughly chilled.
Nutrition values per piece (assumes 10): 290 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 3 g protein, 0 cholesterol, 170 mg sodium.
Tiffany MacIsaac, executive pastry chef of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group