Photo by Symic / CC BY
Yesterday over lunch, Alecia Bakery NYC’s fearless leader, Lin, mentioned that chocolate-hazelnut spread (also lovingly known as Nutella) can be made at home.
And that it tastes even better.
My head practically exploded. For some inexplicable reason, I never considered making it at home, nor did I fathom the possible reality of something that could taste even more heavenly than jarred stuff procured from a grocery store shelf.
Of course it makes total sense. With the exception of homemade Indian food (and that is strictly the opinion of my high-maintenance children who prefer pricey take-out), there is little in the epicurean universe that doesn’t taste better when made at home.
So naturally, I had to immediately google the recipe, because a) Nutella is expense, yo. b) I want the better tasting stuff, duh c) This would make a most excellent gift, all packaged up beautifully in a small mason jar. (Think Mother’s Day)
After researching a number of recipes, the best, most wholesome recipe, in my humble choco-hazelnut loving opinion, is this one from Epicurious. There were others involving sweetened, condensed milk, for instance, but I like that this one involves just six wholesome ingredients that for the most part, are readily available in your fridge and pantry right now.
Also, the recipe is simple, with the exception of the skinning of the hazelnuts. So I highly recommend seeking out skinned hazelnuts if at all possible. Use a food processor to get a smooth consistency.
Why not whip up a batch for the family, and for Mom? This recipe makes enough for four 8 oz. mason jars. That’s enough to also score points with your Mother-in-Law! With the addition of a pretty bow and a vintage-looking tag, it makes a delicious, Pinterest worthy gift.
2 heaping cups (about 10 oz) skinned hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet or ovenproof skillet. Roast, shaking sheet once for even toasting, until deep brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool completely. (If nuts have skins, rub them with a kitchen towel to remove.)
Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.
Place chocolate in a medium size metal bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water, stirring often until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan and add butter, whisking until completely smooth and incorporated. Whisk in cream, salt, then hazelnut paste.
Pour into jars and allow to cool.
The spread can be made up to 4 weeks in advance and chilled. To soften, let stand for at least 4 hours. It will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.