Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Homemade Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread

I went through a phase in third year of university, during second semester exam time to be precise, where I existed solely on black coffee and pita bread topped with Nutella. Definitely not the healthiest diet, but somehow my body survived and I did well enough in my exams for that year. I wouldn't recommend going through bucketfuls of the stuff to anyone, but most of us need a decadent chocolate and nut fix sometimes.

The original recipe called for whole hazelnuts and a small quantity of almonds, but the lack of a decent food processor means that I'll take shortcuts when I can. In this case, it manifested in the use of hazelnut meal and slivered almonds (to add a little bit of crunch). Of course, you can use almond meal as well, but as a crunchy peanut-butter, chunky meat pie kind of girl, Nutella with slightly more texture sounded right up my alley.

The recipe itself is very simple, and the end product has a richer chocolate taste and nut, is a lot less sweeter, and is guaranteed to be healthier than the store-bought version. I can't guarantee that you won't go through a jar faster than the bought version though. Thankfully, this recipe makes two jars - one to gift away and one to hoard for yourself.

As I was using hazelnut meal, I skipped straight to warming whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt, and melting together the chocolates.

Melted Chocolate
If you're making this like I did, it's a matter of combining the hazelnut meal and melted chocolate until the mixture is relatively smooth, then adding the warm milk mixture and mixing until everything is well-combined.

For the extra crunch, I added some slivered almonds.

Homemade Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread
Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep in the fridge for up to one week, although I expect it'll get consumed faster.


Homemade Hazelnut  and Chocolate Spread
Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup (40g) slivered almonds
  • 1 1/3 cup (160g) hazelnut meal
  • 1 3/4 cup (400g) whole milk 
  • 7/8 cup (60g) powdered whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 170g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 140g milk chocolate, chopped (use one that’s at least 30% cacao solids)
Method:
  1. If using whole nuts, spread the nuts on a baking sheet, keeping the almond separate, and toast the nuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are browned. If using pre-ground nuts, skip this step. 
  2. Warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
  3. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.
  4. If using whole nuts, once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove most of the loose skins. 
  5. In a food processor, grind the warm hazelnuts and almonds until they’re as fine as possible. If you're making this like I did, skip the food processor, add the hazelnut meal to a bowl and use a wooden spoon for the next step. 
  6. Add the melted chocolate and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, as necessary.
  7. Once the mixture is smooth, add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well-combined.
  8. Strain the paste if you want a super-smooth mixture, otherwise feel free to skip this step like I did and add the slivered almonds. 
  9. Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep for up to one week. 
Homemade Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread