Salted caramel sauce and a toasted hazelnut crust are an incredible duo in these frozen chocolate mousse bars. — the perfect creamy frozen dessert!
Your 4th of July weekend indulgence is staring ya straight in the eye.
Y’all, we are talking freaking salted caramel hazelnut chocolate mousse bars that are frozen for your beating-the-heat convenience.
Give me one good reason why we shouldn’t all be stocking our freezers as packed as they can go with these bars.
Let’s talk about the layers to these beauties.
1) Hazelnut cookie-like crust 2) Homemade salted caramel sauce 3) Rich, fluffy chocolate mousse filling 4) More caramel + toasted hazelnuts on top.
And all of the above is frozen so when it’s all said and done, they come out like a rich, fancy ice cream-like sandwich bar.
Literally the only word to accurately describe these bars is D-R-E-A-M-Y.
Also, I feel like hazelnuts are such an underrated nut in baking! They add such an incredible texture and flavor to these bars, they’re really just incomplete without them.
Let’s make these frozen chocolate mousse bars!! >>
I know, they look slightly intimidating because of the multiple layers, but I’m here to walk you through them layer by layer! We’ve got this. ♥
Layer 1. Hazelnut crust.
This crust is very similar to a cookie in texture and SUCH an incredible way to boost the hazelnut flavor in these bars. We’re just making a super simple cookie dough and using half flour, half toasted/ground hazelnuts.
The dough will be a little crumbly, but should stick together fine when you press it into your 8×8 pan. A quick 8-10 minute bake and our first layer is done!
Layer 2. Salted caramel sauce.
We’ve been making caramel sauce for forever on my blog, so I’ll save the great detail for the recipe below. Don’t be scared to make your own caramel though, it’s so much easier than you think!
If you’re short on time, you can totally melt down 1 cup soft caramels and use that as your caramel sauce instead of homemade.
Reserve a little bit of caramel for drizzling on top of your finished bars, then the rest goes over the hazelnut crust. This needs to hang out in the freezer to harden a bit before adding our final layer.
Layer 3. Chocolate mousse.
SO very simple and only 5 ingredients! We’re just slowly heating cream until it’s hot and then slowly whisking it into egg yolks + sugar and letting that cook until very slightly thick.
Off heat, we’re adding bittersweet chocolate + vanilla and letting it cool off awhile before folding in whipped cream.
It may not look like much at this point, but you’ll be shocked by how airy the whipped cream makes it and how fluffy, thick, and rich it gets the longer it cools.
Spread your chocolate mousse on top of the chilled caramel layer and then we’re throwing EVERYTHING in the freezer for about 6 hours to freeze completely.
I like to remove these bars from the freezer for about 10 minutes to soften for easier cutting into squares, but I actually prefer eating them frozen straight from the freezer.
The textures just CANNOT be beat!
The frozen mousse layer is SO similar to a rich, fluffy ice cream and the richness from the caramel + crunchy hazelnut crust is literally the dreaaaamiest trio of flavors.
A little extra caramel sauce + toasted hazelnut action on top obviously never hurt anyone. ??
More party-worthy treats to beat the heat!!
Frozen Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Bars
Hazelnut Cookie Crust
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted and ground to a course meal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Mousse Filling
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional toasted chopped hazelnuts for topping
Hazelnut Cookie Crust
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 square baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Fold in ground hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, and salt until a soft dough forms.
- Pat dough evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust at 350F 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool crust completely on a wire cooling rack.
- Combine sugar, butter, and honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally until a golden brown. Very slowly, whisk cream into caramel (careful, it will splatter slightly) and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until caramel is a deep golden brown. Remove from heat and whisk in salt. Let caramel cool slightly.
- Reserve a few tablespoons caramel sauce for garnishing. Pour remaining caramel over hazelnut crust and smooth top. Place in freezer to chill while you prepare the mousse filling.
Chocolate Mousse Filling
- In a small bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes of beating. Heat 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan over medium until hot (do not let boil) Very slowly drizzle hot cream into egg yolk mixture, a little at a time to temper the egg yolks. Once all the cream has been added to egg yolks, add all back to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is slightly thickened and at a low simmer.
- Offheat, strain hot cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk chocolate and vanilla into hot cream mixture until chocolate is melted. Let cool.
- In a separate bowl, whip remaining 1/4 cup cream to stiff peaks. Very gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Spread chocolate mousse over caramel layer of bars, cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze 6 hours until mousse is firm.
- When ready to serve, drizzle reserved caramel sauce over top of bars and sprinkle with additional toasted hazelnuts. Use parchment paper overhang to remove bars from pan and slice into 9 even bars. Enjoy!