19 April 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I'd never tried Nutella until a few years ago and ever since that first bite, I've been hooked.  Of course, it's not a common ingredient around here because it's not exactly "healthy," "organic," or "natural" despite what those charming commercials would have you believe.  Well, thanks to Jessica at Su Good Sweets, I've found a homemade version that can at least count towards Michael Pollan's idea that you can “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” When Forrest got home and asked what I had made, I told him "this might be the best thing I've ever eaten, let alone made." 

While you can simply top your ice cream with this delicious goodness, for an even tastier treat, add it to your basic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread
Adapted from Su Good Sweets
Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)

2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.

2. Since the skin is bitter, you’ll want to discard them. Wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, and rub until most of the skins have come off. Don’t fret if you can’t get off all the skins.

3. Process nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you only have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils, and you will get hazelnut butter!

4. When the nuts are liquefied, add in the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more fluid now than at room temperature.

5. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.