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nutella? well, sorta

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nutella isn’t something that I grew up spreading on toast. I’m sure most of you didn’t either. It’s still catching on here in the U.S. in my opinion, or maybe to just us in the PNW. Nutella is a hazelnut spread that boasts a hint of chocolate and milk, and while it comes from Italy, it is widely popular all over Europe.

To be quite honest, I’m not a huge fan of Nutella. The flavor has always seemed a bit chalky to me. I do enjoy it with bananas, spread out on a crepe on the sidewalks of Paris. What? I can get the same crepe here in Seattle? I am aware of this, but am always disgruntled that I have to shell out at least three times the price for one here. Also, the chocolate and banana crepe remains special as I look forward to it when I’m in Paris. When in Rome… A few summers back, I rented a tiny apartment in Paris and my good friend Josh came to stay with me for a couple weeks and he insisted on purchasing the largest jar of Nutella the store had. I warned him that I wasn’t a big fan and wouldn’t help him eat it, he assured me he would bring home what was left to enjoy; I ended up throwing it away when it wouldn’t fit in his over stuffed suitcase.

I thought I would give this hazelnut and chocolate spread another go, but this time I would make it. I got the idea back in late December when I read that January is hazelnut month. (I had no idea that nuts were assigned months.) I had good intentions to make this in January and share it with all of you, but now it’s March and oh well. I looked at different recipes for this project and settled on one that Smitten Kitchen used with peanuts. (Wow, as I’m typing this a commercial just came on for Nutella! How serendipitous.) This recipe was incredibly easy. I don’t typically have hazelnuts or hazelnut oil on hand so I had to make those purchases. I’m not fond of making a lot of specialty purchases for one recipe, but I’ve already found other uses for the hazelnut oil.

Did I like my homemade version of Nutella? I liked it enough. I’m still not a big fan of it and thought it still tasted slightly chalky. I don’t know if I’ll make it again for me, but I will for friends. Hmmmm….maybe Josh would like some! You will need a food processor to make this, a blender might work but I’m not sure. I spread mine on a crumpet and I’m determined to find other uses for it before it goes bad.

Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup + 1 tsp. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3+ tbsp. hazelnut oil (I used a smidge over 3 tablespoons)

Roast your hazelnuts on a sheet pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes. You don’t want to burn them, just bring out the natural oils and flavor.

Pour the hazelnuts into your food processor  and turn in on. The nuts will break down and get powdery, let it keep running until the oils come out and it looks spreadable. It took about 3-4 minutes for my processor to break down the nuts. At this point add the cocoa, sugar and salt. Pulse the mixture a couple times to incorporate it into the nuts. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, and turn on to mix the oil through. At this point check your flavor and add anymore sugar or salt if you desire. Also, if you like a thick consistency you might not want to add anymore oil. I added the 3rd tablespoon and checked it again, that is when I added a smidge more to get the consistency I wanted.

That’s it. Store in an air sealed container in the fridge. According to Smitten Kitchen, this will last for one week. I better get busy finding other uses for this!

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