Nutella is a guilty pleasure for us, and one that does not make an appearance that often in our home. To be honest, I do not think I have ever bought a container of it. Usually, I enjoy it when I am taking care of MEM, or when we are wandering the streets of Paris. Have you been to Paris when the crepe vendors are on the streets making crepes, and they smother the delicate crepe with Nutella? It is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up while jaunting around town, in and out of museums or shops. I love it so much!
We have two very good friends who make Nutella. Megan stuffs her homemade Nutella between sheets of buttery pastry dough to create pop tarts. Danielle, surprises her friends with sweet little pots of Nutella during the holidays. Ever since, we first tasted their versions, I have talked about making it at home; but, never have. Until now. National Nutella Day, is today, and I could not think of a better recipe to make than homemade Nutella. This sweet treat would also be perfect for your Valentine! I know a few of ours will be getting it.
After doing some research, I found that this sticky but delicious journey would be easy to make as well as pleasurable. Nutella was first created in the 1940s during a chocolate shortage. A pastry maker by the name of Pietro Ferrero stretched chocolate by thinning out his recipes with the addition of ground hazelnuts. It became Europe’s “peanut butter”. If Nutella did not have such a high sugar content, the nutritional value would be very similar to peanut butter. The fat comes from the hazelnuts, which is healthier than that double cheeseburger you have been eyeing. And making it at home gives you more control over what will actually be in your recipe. Think of this recipe as a healthy version of Nutella.
The problem I have with Nutella is not the nuts nor the chocolate, but rather, the extraordinary amount of sugar that most recipes call for. Don’t get me wrong, I like sweets, just not over sugary sweets, which I find Nutella is. When I started out developing our Nutella recipe, I knew this would be the first area I would cut. Most recipes call for powdered sugar and large amounts of it. I decided to use unrefined sugar in small amounts. I didn’t want the chocolate to overpower the roasted hazelnuts, so I used a minimal amount of cocoa powder. The cocoa nibs were added for texture. As well I wanted our recipe to be a bit different, so I added cherry-wood smoked sea salt, and a small amount of roasted hazelnut oil to give the Nutella more depth. It shined!
Why haven’t I attempted this sooner? This recipe is so easy and so sultry you will also be wondering why you haven’t made it at home. Besides enjoying it with merely a spoon, we enjoy a dab of Nutella on slices of baguette with a small sprinkle of Maldon salt. Or simply wrapped in eggy crepes; just like street food in Paris.
Happy Nutella Day! (scroll to the bottom for more Nutella Love)
2 1/2 cups raw hazelnuts with skins
1/2 cup cocoa nibs – used scharffenberger
4 tablespoons unrefined sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder – we prefer scharffen berger
2 teaspoons roasted hazelnut oil
3/4 – 1 teaspoon cherry-wood smoked sea salt
Heat oven to 350.
Scatter the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes; stir halfway through.
The nuts will get very toasty, and the skins will blister.
Once the nuts are finished baking, remove them from the oven, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Spread the nuts onto a cloth towel and roughly rub them back and forth to remove the skins. Continue to do so until most of the skins are removed.
Some will be challenging, and that is okay, they add a nice texture to the finished recipe.
Put the nuts into a bowl and toss out the skins.
Let the nuts cool.
Process the nuts and cocoa nibs in a food processor, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the mixture is a very fine meal, about 5 minutes.
After a while, the mixture will form a ball around the blade.
Keep processing up to 7 minutes; eventually, you will extract the oils and will have a butter mixture.
Add the sugar and cocoa powder; process for 2 minutes.
Add the salt.
With the food processor running, slowly add the hazelnut oil, and continue processing for 3 more minutes.
Store the mixture in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, up to 1 month.