The commercial version of this wildly popular chocolate-hazelnut spread (a classic combination in Italy known as gianduia or gianduja) is a bit too sweet for my taste, and also includes milk ingredients and not-so-healthy palm oil. So for vegans or the lactose-intolerant, this richer, darker homemade version is a great alternative. Toasting the hazelnuts really brings out their warm, nutty flavor.
The spread might be a bit thin when first made, but will firm up after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours.
In Italy, this is considered a breakfast staple, spread on slices of toast. It's also wonderful for dipping fruit, or in crepes or on pancakes with sliced fresh bananas and/or strawberries. I'm sure you won't have trouble coming up with ways to eat it, but here are a few ideas of ways to use your homemade Nutella:
You can use a small melon baller to scoop the chilled spread, form it into small balls and roll the balls in cocoa powder or dip them in melted chocolate to make super-easy Nutella truffles!
Nutella Cake or Cupcake Frosting (this would also be great on banana muffins!):
Beat 1/2 cup homemade Nutella, 3 TB softened butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and 2 TB heavy cream together until smooth and fluffy.
(For more ideas: 21 Amazing Things to Make with Nutella)
- 2 cups hazelnuts (use pre-skinned hazelnuts if you can find them)
- 3.4 ounces/96 grams dark chocolate (good-quality chocolate, about 2/3 cup chopped)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or walnut oil or grapeseed oil)
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until fragrant and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel and rub them vigorously to remove as much of the loose skins as possible. Don't worry if all the skins don't come off completely. (You can skip this last step, of course, if you've found pre-skinned hazelnuts.)
- In a food processor (or Vitamix blender), process the still-warm, toasted hazelnuts until they form a paste, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water, or in the microwave at low power. Stir until smooth.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil, the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt to the ground nuts in the food processor and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the melted chocolate and process again until well blended. If it is too thick and stiff, add another tablespoon of oil.
- The mixture may be a bit thin at this point, but will thicken as it cools. Transfer the mixture to a jar or resealable container and refrigerate for several hours until it firms up.
- It should keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month in your refrigerator.
- If it gets too firm and you need to soften it for easy spreading, microwave it for about 5 seconds.