We’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, when life gives you hazelnuts, make Nutella!
A few weeks ago, I was given a huge paper sack full of shelled hazelnuts, and the cogs in my brain started turning. I started thinking of hazelnut-centric recipes, and almost instantaneously settled on the famous chocolate-hazelnut spread from my childhood. A week later, I was cracking nuts (saving the shells for our garden) and testing recipes.
It didn’t take long for me to discover David Lebovitz’s homemade Nutella recipe, which was the most accurate in terms of taste and texture. It’s delicious and super easy to follow. I only made a slight change to his instructions – processing the nuts in a food processor with their skins – which left a mild grittiness to the final product. Personally, I like the added texture, but if you prefer a totally smooth spread, you’ll need to skin your hazelnuts.
• 1/3 cup whole almonds, raw
• 1 1/3 cup hazelnuts, raw
• 1 3/4 cup whole milk
• 7/8 cup powdered whole milk
• 3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
• pinch of salt
• 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (at least 30% cacao solids)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, remove the skins by wrapping the roasted hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rubbing them together (I skipped this step). Pour the nuts into a food processor, and process until they become a smooth paste, scraping down the sides when necessary. They’ll be powdery at first, but just keep going. After 3 or 4 minutes in the food processor, they’ll start to change consistency.
In a double broiler (or a heatproof bowl over simmering water), melt the chocolate until completely smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the nut paste in the food processor, and pulse until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl once or twice to make sure everything is incorporated. Add the milk mixture and pulse until everything is well combined.
Funnel the mixture into sterilized jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to one month. The spread will be quite loose while warm, but will stiffen into a nice, spreadable consistency after refrigeration. Eat on top of toast, scones, with fruit, or – like me – straight out of the jar!
Nutella makes a great gift for your friends and family. Package it in sterilized small-mouth pint or half-pint jars, covering the lids with paper or cloth circles that are 6″ in diameter . I chose chocolate colored tags and labels in Classic Oldstyle.