In my family, we have a legend.
The Chocolate People.
You see, when I was younger, they would steal into the kitchen when no one was watching.
Like mysterious little chocolate-loving elves, they would sneak open the Nutella jar and swipe fingerful after fingerful of the heavenly stuff.
Interestingly, those finger-swipes were always EXACTLY the same size as my little sister’s fingers.
Coincidence? I think NOT!
Either way, it’s hard to deny the appeal of Nutella. Rich, chocolatey, nutty, creamy, divine, or whatever you want to call it… Nutella is one of the simple pleasures in life.
Not too long ago, my mother “accidentally” left a jar in my pantry. One day I happened to be reading the label (yeah… scary, I know!) and I kept thinking… this oughta be pretty simple to make on my own, right?
Not so much. I bought hazelnuts, cocoa butter (I thought it might be good) and cream and set to work. Except it was a total disaster.
Maybe not a TOTAL disaster, since it did result in the incredibly divine Flourless Hazelnut Chocolate Cake. Here is the link
However… it was not what I wanted. What I wanted was a rich nutella-like spread. But my nuts simply would not grind into butter and they totally had the wrong flavor. So I looked online, and it looked like a lot of people had made it before!
I prepared myself to be schooled… and quickly I realized you are supposed to TOAST the nuts. Who knew?
All the recipes I found online use ingredients I didn’t want to, though. I prefer my sweets lower on the sugar end and higher on the natural fat end, so sweetened condensed milk, canola oil and/or lots of added sugar wasn’t on my repertoire.
So, I just kinda made up my own. It took me about 7 tries. I’m kind of bullheaded when it comes to projects I’m determined to accomplish.
The really pathetic part is that the final recipe came together after I gave up trying to make fancy stuff and just went simple – equal parts nuts, chocolate and cream with a splash of vanilla.
The result? It’s great. Rich, thick, with an amazing toasty nutty dark chocolate flavor. Mine is not quite as liquidy as regular Nutella, but it spreads really well with a knife. Actually it starts off pretty runny, but then sets up nice and thick. It lends itself quite well to eating with a spoon.
Ahem. Not that I’d know anything about eating Nutella with a spoon!
But – the primo test is this. Most people envision Nutella spread on a thick piece of crusty artisan bread. In our family we spread it on cheese.
I invented it when I was a kid. The sweetness of the Nutella complements the saltiness of the cheese perfectly. I prefer a nice aged Gouda.
Anyway, enough talk. More Nutella.
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (or chips)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- With the oven at 300 degrees, spread the hazelnuts out on a rimmed cookie sheet and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Watch them carefully!
- Rub the nuts between your fingers to remove the skins.
- While the nuts are warm, blend them in a food processor or high-powered blender (like a Ninja or VitaMix) until they turn into butter. This can take 5-15 minutes depending on your machine.
- While the nuts are blending, melt your chocolate and cream together in a double boiler.
- Add the vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
- Once the nuts are liquified and runny, add the chocolate mixture and pulse a few times to ensure it is blended completely.
- Pour into jars, store in the refrigerator.
- This will keep up to a month.
- Makes approx. 1 quart plus a little extra for the chef