I didn't know Nutella existed until I spent a couple weeks in Germany my freshman year in college. (True story.) When I returned, eager to share tales of my European friends who ate chocolate for breakfast, I was shocked and delighted to learn that Nutella was widely available in the U.S., too. But, much to my dismay, it didn't taste quite the same as the seemingly identical European variety: Too sweet, too chocolatey. (I was happy to learn I wasn't just imagining things.) The only solution? Make my own.
This chocolate-hazelnut spread is a slightly grown-up version of the one you may be familiar with. It's nutty and not too sweet, with equal parts milk and dark chocolate and the teensiest hint of almond. If you'd like to keep it dairy-free, you can substitute coconut oil and condensed almond milk.
All in all, it's a great (and dare I say, far superior) alternative to the store-bought variety.
Makes about two cups
To roast and peel the hazelnuts
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts
2 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda
To make the nutella
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons confectionery sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring every five.
When hazelnuts have finished roasting, bring two cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Prepare a separate bowl of cool water and set aside on the counter. Once the water on the stovetop is boiling, add three tablespoons of baking soda, followed by the hazelnuts. Boil for three minutes, drain, then add the hazelnuts to the bowl of cool water. Peel hazelnuts and discard skins.
Blend hazelnuts in a food processor or blender until they form a thick, smooth paste. This should take approximately five minutes. It will be crumbly at first but the crumbs will begin to come together to form a butter.
Add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and extracts. Continue to blend until smooth, approximately one to two minutes.
Melt together the chocolates and heavy cream in a double boiler, stirring until a smooth ganache forms. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.
Once ganache has cooled slightly, add it to the food processor or blender and blend until just combined (around 15 seconds).
Transfer to jars and store in the fridge for up to one week. (The nutella will firm up slightly in the fridge, so let it sit out at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes to soften the consistency.)
Photos by Carey Nershi
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