When I went to Europe many years ago, I saw a jar of "hazelnut spread," otherwise known as "Nutella" on every dining room table. The name, "hazelnut spread," just didn't sound appealing, so I never tried it.
Fast forward 15 years. My neighbor from England encouraged me to try Nutella.
Holy cow ~ if you had told me this was basically chocolate frosting in a jar, I would have purchased it by the gallon!
I have seen many homemade versions of this chocolatey spread and never thought to make it until I saw this recipe on America's Test Kitchen.
I picked up my nearly empty jar of Nutella and read the ingredients:
Sugar, Palm Oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin, an artificial flavor.
The ingredients for this recipe? Hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa, hazelnut oil, pure vanilla extract, sea salt.
Right off the bat, you will notice that the ATK recipe has MORE hazelnuts and NO DAIRY. Artificial vanilla? You won't find that in my baking cabinet.
Let's see if it is easy to make .... here we go!
First, the hazelnuts. I found them in the bulk section of Winco. They are toasted in the oven for about 15 minutes. Toasting your nuts brings out an incredible smell and taste.
Next, the skins need to be removed. Why skin the nuts? The skins can make your hazelnut spread taste bitter. ATK suggests putting them in a bowl, with a second bowl on top, and shaking it vigorously to remove the skins.
Do this over your sink, or you will have a big mess on your counter or floor to clean up!
The next step is painstaking....remove the fully peeled hazelnuts and put them in the food processor. Shake some more, remove the skinless hazelnuts, shake some more. It got to the point where my arms were tired and I wasn't making any progress.
*TIP* Toast about 1/4 cup more hazelnuts than the recipe calls for. When your shaking is done and you've got 2 cups of skinless nuts, put the rest of the skinned nuts into the freezer for another recipe.
Process the nuts, occasionally scraping down the sides, until you get a smooth loose paste.
Add sugar, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla and salt.
This recipe calls for hazelnut oil, which I found at my Harmon's grocery store. This gives the spread an intense "nutty" flavor, although you can substitute walnut or vegetable oil.
Process, occasionally scraping down the sides, until the mixture becomes glossy, about two minutes.
This mixture is looser than Nutella, but will thicken to a spreadable consistency if put into the fridge.
You can store this at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a month.
How did it taste?
At first, you will experience a very intense nutty flavor. Nutella claims to have "over 50 hazelnuts per 13 oz. jar." Tasting this homemade version makes Nutella taste more like chocolate frosting. You will not have the same texture ... the homemade version is slightly grainy, but the incredible taste makes up for it.
Out of curiosity, I figured out how much it costs to make the homemade vs the Nutella you can buy at Costco for $10.62 (2/26.5 oz jars), which is .20 per ounce.
Powdered sugar $0.20
Dutch Cocoa $0.31
Hazelnut Oil $0.66
Total: $4.36 for 13.8 oz = 0.32/oz
I was shocked. I even took out the cost of the hazelnut oil and it was still more than buying it at the store. When you make something yourself, it usually costs less. However, you get the benefit of knowing what goes into your final product and I tell you, this stuff tastes amazing! This recipe is good news for those who cannot have dairy, a definite plus.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
(4x6 recipe card download) (full page printable recipe)