Nutella Kunafa Cones
Crunchy kunafa cones filled with alternating layers of Nutella and whipped cream then sprinkled with your favorite topping. YUM!
Just when you thought I’d let this Ramadan slip without a dosage of Nutella, this post is here to tell you…forget it! MWAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!
Not because we’re doing Middle Eastern around here this month, means we can’t get our chocolate fix.
Last year it was this over-the-top, insanely decadent Nutella Baklava. This year its this:
So how did these crunchy, chocolate cones of goodness come to life?
Just about the same time last year, I was surprised with the sweetest little gift from my lovely cousin’s wife, Salma Koueider. It wasn’t so little actually. It was a dangerous box chockfull of Nutella Kunafa Cones, almost identical to the ones you see before your eyes.
She personally delivered them right to my doorstep, baked fresh, straight from her family’s famous pastry shop Mandarine Koueider.
If you’re not from Egypt, or you are but having been living under a rock, Mandarine Koueider is one of Egypt’s top dessert shops, specializing in Oriental delicacies and ice cream. Pass by anytime of the year and you’re likely to find a cue of dessert lovers lining outside the store. Dare to pass by during Ramadan and consider yourself blessed from above, if you were lucky to find a crumb of basbousa that hasn’t sold out.
Yes! Their stuff is that good!
Before Salma’s delicious gift to me, I had only seen Nutella Kunafas made the classic, pan-style way, but I had never met one that’s shaped into a charming little cone and tastes like I’ve died and gone to chocolate heaven.
I couldn’t contain my excitement over them and felt a strong obligation to share with the world. You know…people needed to know that something this dreamy existed in real life.
So I posted a photo of them on Instagram and people went bonkers over them! I also got a lot of requests to make a homemade version. Understandable…not everyone has a Mandarine Koueider around the corner. So for you guys, and for everyone who likes a little tasty project in the kitchen…I am finally here to deliver.
Mandarine Koueider fills their cones with alternating layers of whipped cream and Nutella then tops them off with whole hazelnuts. So we’re doing just that here, only we’re using chopped hazelnuts instead of whole (for no justifiable reason) and we’re also using other nuts like pistachios! Because how can I resist that vibrant green color?
And I just couldn’t say no to sprinkles. They were begging to be used.
I did go through quite a bit of research to figure out exactly how to make them.
What type of kunafa do I use? How do I shape it like a cone? How do I roll up the kunafa without having it unravel? Do I bake or fry them? How can I use whipping cream in the filling and be able to keep it at room temperature? These were all questions I was asking myself and now that I know, I’m here to share with you ALL the answers.
So what type of kunafa do we use?
The answer to that is straight up FRESH Kunafa that comes in long, organized strands. It is known in Egypt as Kunafa Torah/Tora7 and it is sold at the Kanafany (Kunafa-maker). Tangled up kunafa won’t do, because you need long, neat strands. Frozen kunafa is not a really good idea either because it has the tendency to break as you roll it.
You’re going to take about a (3/4″/ 2cm) thick strand of kunafa and rewrap the rest to prevent from drying out.
Roll the kunafa strand around the cone form. Start by placing one end of the strand in the middle of the cone, then beginning from the tiny, closed end of the form, tightly wrap the remaining strand over the end and up until you almost reach the wide opening of the form. Leave a small piece of the metal form showing; this will later make it easier to grab onto while removing the baked cones. Make sure that the kunafa is wrapped as tightly as possible without tearing, and that there are no gaps showing. To make the kunafa stick to itself and prevent unrolling, dampen your hand with a little bit of water, then use this hand to apply pressure on the wrapped kunafa until its stable and all the stray strands are stuck. Don’t get it too wet; just damp enough to stick the kunafa to itself. Repeat with the remaining kunafa.Make sure that the kunafa you’re not working with is covered at all times. You don’t want it to dry out on you.
How do we shape the kunafa into a cone?
You’re gonna need oven-safe metal cone forms, also known as Cream Horn Molds. They can be found at baking supply stores.
How do we roll up the kunafa without having it unravel?
You’re gonna start by placing one end of the strand in the middle of the cone, then beginning from the tiny, closed end of the form, tightly wrap the remaining strand over the end and overlapping that middle piece and up until you almost reach the wide opening of the form. Leave a small piece of the metal form showing; this will later make it easier to grab onto while removing the baked cones. Make sure that the kunafa is wrapped as tightly as possible without tearing, and that there are no gaps showing. To make the kunafa stick to itself and prevent unrolling, dampen your hands with a little bit of water, then use them to apply pressure on the wrapped kunafa, pressing tightly on it until its stable and all the stray strands are stuck. Don’t get it too wet; just damp enough to stick the kunafa to itself.
You’re then gonna lay down the wrapped cones and forget about them for at least 3 hours. Better overnight. You need to let the kunafa air dry until its kinda hard. This trick will ensure that they keep their shape as they bake.
IMPORTANT: When ready to bake, loosen the hardened kunafa from the metal form quite a bit so its not stuck to it anymore This will make it easier to later remove the kunafa from the form without breaking. If you don’t do that, you’ll have a very hard time removing the baked kunafa from the form. Trust me, I forgot to do this and had a few nervous breakdowns taking them out.
Now you’re gonna dip and roll the kunafa cones into the ghee to saturate. Allow excess ghee to drip back into the bowl.
Now place these greasy guys onto a baking sheet. Don’t worry all the excess grease will ooze out as the cones bake.
Now how do I know that they should be baked, not fried?
Because Salma Koueider told me so. There you go! A little insider’s secret 😉
Now bake the cones, flipping them on a different side every 5 minutes to ensure even browning until the kunafa turns golden brown in color, 15 to 20 minutes. In case you’re curious, I did try baking them standing upside down to try and get away from all the flipping action, but I ended up with unevenly baked cones. (Refer to photo of the single hazelnut topped cone above for evidence). See how its almost burnt on top and very light in the middle? Moral of the story: Flip the cones every 5 minutes will ya?
Now immediately transfer the cones to a clean pan and drizzle the piping hot kunafa with cooled thick syrup. Move the kunafa around to coat with the syrup.
Then transfer the cones standing upside down to a wire rack that has been lined with a sheet of foil to cool completely and allow to drip all the excess syrup and ghee.
Once cooled, carefully twist the kunafa cones to remove from the form. If you remembered to loosen up the kunafa from the forms before baking, then taking them out should be a breeze. If you’re having a hard time removing it, place in the freezer to cool further then try again. It helps!
Now let’s fill ’em up!
Squeeze in alternating dollops of Nutella and whipped cream, ending with the Nutella. I find that the whipped cream is the perfect addition to cut through the sweetness of the Nutella so its not so overpowering. You could skip it if you’re a die-hard Nutella fanatic. Up to you:)
But if you’re using whipped cream, here comes the important question:
How can I use whipping cream in the filling and be able to keep it at room temperature?
The answer is stabilized whipped cream baby! The easy, not so tasty answer would be to use non-dairy whipped cream but I couldn’t find that, so that’s where cornstarch-stabilized whipped cream cones in.
Cornstarch thickens the whipped cream a bit so it has the consistency of fluffy frosting and makes it stand up so much better without weeping or softening up.
Time to top ’em off!
So what are you gonna choose?
Pistachios, hazelnuts, sprinkles and Plain Jane?
I say go for ALL of them!
Enjoy you Nutella Lovin’ friends:)
For the Syrup:
- 2 cups (14 oz /400g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (237 ml) water
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon
For the Kunafa Cones:
- 1lb/ 500g FRESH kunafa sold in long organized strands (known as kunafa torah)
- 3/4 cup (6oz/ 170g) ghee or clarified butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3/4 cup (8oz/ 227g) chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
For the Stabilized Whipped Cream:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (1/2oz/ 14g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup (237ml) cold heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Toppings:
- Chopped nuts like hazelnuts and pistachios
- 20-24 Oven-safe metal cone forms (aka Cream Horn Molds) *See note below
To make the Syrup:
- In a medium saucepan, combine together the sugar, water and squeeze of lemon juice. Set on the stovetop over high heat. Try to avoid stirring it as it heats to prevent crystallization from happening, but if the sugar is not dissolving, then help it out with a few stirs. Once it comes to a boil, STOP stirring.
- Bring to a rolling boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Set a timer! The syrup will thicken, and have a consistency similar to corn syrup. It should be slightly thicker than the average simple syrup used for the classic pan kunafa.
- Remove from heat. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup or gravy boat and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
To make the Kunafa Cones:
- Unwrap the kunafa from its paper. Take about a (3/4"/ 2cm) thick strand of kunafa and rewrap the rest to prevent from drying out.
- Roll the kunafa strand around the cone form (as shown in the photos of the post). Start by placing one end of the strand in the middle of the cone, then beginning from the tiny, closed end of the form, tightly wrap the remaining strand over the end and overlapping that middle piece and up until you almost reach the wide opening of the form. Leave a small piece of the metal form showing; this will later make it easier to grab onto while removing the baked cones. Make sure that the kunafa is wrapped as tightly as possible without tearing, and that there are no gaps showing. To make the kunafa stick to itself and prevent unrolling, dampen your hands with a little bit of water, then use them to apply pressure on the wrapped kunafa, pressing tightly on it until its stable and all the stray strands are stuck. Don't get it too wet; just damp enough to stick the kunafa to itself. Repeat with the remaining kunafa.
- Place the wrapped kunafa cones on a baking sheet, cover loosely with a sheet pf foil or parchment paper and leave to air dry until the kunafa feel hard to the touch; 3 hours to overnight.
- When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven 200C/ 392F.
- IMPORTANT: Loosen the hardened kunafa from the metal form quite bit so its not so stuck to it anymore, but do not remove completely. This will make it easier to later remove the kunafa from the form without breaking. If you don't do that, you'll have a very hard time removing the baked kunafa from the form.
- Pour the melted ghee (or clarified butter) into a shallow bowl. Dip and roll the kunafa cones into the ghee to saturate. Allow excess ghee to drip back into the bowl.
- Place the ghee dipped kunafa cones on their sides onto a baking sheet. Bake the cones, flipping them every 5 minutes on a different side to ensure even browning until the kunafa turns golden brown in color, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, then immediately transfer the cones to a clean pan. Drizzle the piping hot kunafa with the cooled syrup. Move the kunafa around to coat with the syrup.
- Transfer the cones to a wire rack that has been lined with a sheet of foil. Place the cones standing upside down over the wire rack to cool completely and allow to drip all the excess syrup and ghee.
- Once cooled, carefully twist the kunafa cones to remove from the form. If you're having a hard time removing it, place in the freezer to cool further then try again. It helps! Now its time to prepare the fillings.
To make the Stabilized Whipped Cream:
- In a small saucepan, combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in 1/4 cup (50ml) of the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil to activate the cornstarch, stirring constantly, and simmer for a few seconds just until thickened. Be sure not to let it simmer beyond a few seconds or the mixture will get too thick. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and allow to cool just to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.
- In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the remaining cream just until traces of the beater marks begin to appear. Add the cooled cornstarch mixture in a steady stream, whipping constantly. Whip just until stiff peaks form when the beaters are raised. Do not overbeat or it will curdle and possibly turn to butter.
To Fill the Kunafa Cones:
- Transfer the stabilized whipped cream and chocolate hazelnut spread to 2 separate piping bags and snip the ends off.
- Place the tip of the whipped cream piping bag all the way inside a kunafa cone and pipe a small amount. Follow that with piping a small amount of chocolate hazelnut spread in the same matter. Continue with piping alternate layers of whipped cream and chocolate hazelnut spread, ending with the chocolate hazelnut spread. Repeat with the remaining cones.
- Sprinkle the top of the cones with your topping of choice then serve and enjoy:) These are best eaten the same day they're made so the whipped cream doesn't go bad. If you happen to have leftovers, refrigerate then bring back to room temperature before eating.
- Please note that only FRESH kunafa that comes in long strands will work for this recipe. This kind is known as Kunafa Torah (tora7) and is sold in Middle Eastern countries at the Kanafani (the konafa maker). Frozen kunafa has the tendency to break as you roll them, so they are not recommended. Make sure to always keep the kunafa covered to prevent from drying out.
- You could find the oven-safe metal cone forms, aka Cream Horn Molds at baking supply stores or online. Mine are 11cm long and the opening is 3cm wide. Cairo shoppers! I got mine from El Kholafaa El Rashedeen in Heliopolis. Here's their number: 0100-6085280
- Going through the process of stabilizing the whipped cream here in essential so don't be tempted to skip it. The stabilization increases the shelf life of the whipped cream as it stays out at room temperature.
Idea inspired by Mandarine Koueider
Stabilized whipped cream recipe adapted from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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