I have been on a rather long break. We spent the first half of last month on a trip to the UK. It was part vacation and partly to attend our daughter’s graduation at Oxford. Once we got back the rest of the month went in a couple of short trips. I haven’t been cooking much either. It’s funny how a break can make it difficult to get back to routine. It’s time I stopped neglecting this blog, though. Let me start with my recipe for a Hazelnut Chocolate Spread that is not Nutella.
I discovered Nutella when it first came to India a while back. It’s not an understatement to say that the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts can be addicting. I went off Nutella when there was a controversy about it not being vegetarian friendly. There was a suggestion that the whey in it was sourced from rennet of animal origin.
That didn’t mean that I didn’t crave it occasionally. At some point I decided to do something about it. Like other things before, I decided to make some at home. I call what I make Hazelnut Chocolate Spread and not Nutella though. For one thing, it’s a copyright issue to do so. Also, I believe my Hazelnut Chocolate Spread is better than Nutella!
Making it at home means I know and can control exactly what goes into it. My version uses darker chocolate, has less added fat and is a lot less sweet which is how we like it. It also has a lot more hazelnuts in it.
My Hazelnut Chocolate Spread needs just 5 ingredients and a blender. There is no set recipe and the proportion of hazelnuts to chocolate is a personal preference. I like to use a little more of the hazelnuts. As far as the kind of chocolate you use, it depends entirely on your taste. You can use just semi-sweet dark chocolate, only milk chocolate or a mix of both. I like using a mix of both as that appeals to all of us. My husband doesn’t really like dark chocolate very much. The coconut oil gives the spread a lovely smoothness and a little goes a long way.
You can use a food processor to make the spread. I prefer to use my mixer/ blender as it gives me a smoother spread. If your processor or blender doesn’t have a strong enough motor, you might have a slightly gritty spread. The hazelnuts have to be powdered as fine as possible. This spread is of spreadable texture at room temperature but will solidify a bit in the fridge.
Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
- 2 cups toasted unsalted hazelnuts
- 1 1/4 cup chopped semi-sweet dark chocolate 1/2 milk chocolate + 1/2 dark chocolate
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- If you don’t have toasted hazelnuts, you can toast them in the oven or on the stove top. I prefer doing this on the stove top. For the oven, preheat oven to 180C (350F) and bake hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet for about 10 to 15 minutes till a light brown. Let them cool.
- In the meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate over a double boiler and keep aside.
- You can do this in a food processor, but I prefer using the chutney jar of my mixer blender. Run the toasted and cooled hazelnuts in the mixer blender till they’re ground as fine as possible. Make sure the hazelnuts have no skin on them.
- If using the chutney or small jar of the mixer blender, transfer the powdered hazelnuts to a larger jar. Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and melted chocolate. Run in the blender until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the jar for a homogenous texture. Makes two medium jars.