I was trying to figure out what to title this post, because I don’t feel like “Chocolate Hazelnut Spread” accurately describes what I ended up with. Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought “Wow, this is going to be so easy! And it will only take like twenty minutes! And will be amazingly delicious!” I may have jinxed myself with my over optimistic attitude. I have never made nutella before. I was expecting a creamy, chocolate frosting like spread. Instead, what resulted was kind of a disaster. I found hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s, sadly with the skins on. I tried the baking soda boiling water bath method to loosen the skins, as recommended by a fellow baker, but unfortunately for me I still had a lot of trouble. I wound up sitting over a bowl of nuts rubbing each one to individually get the skin off…after about half an hour the futility of my efforts seemed ridiculous, so I gave up and moved on to toasting the nuts as is.
I placed the result in a food processor, expecting everything to turn into a delicious looking nut butter. Unfortunately, after a few minutes it did not look like it was going well. I decided to move on to adding the rest of the ingredients, at which point my food processor started to protest. We have a house guest staying with us this week, and we had an amusing conversation standing over my food processor full sandy looking nut dust. “Maybe you should add more oil?” “Or some milk, maybe?” I ended up doing both, resulting in sandy looking nut paste. All of the would be ok if it actually tasted like Nutella, unfortunately it just tasted kind of bland. Not very chocolatey and oddly quite a bit more like almonds than hazelnut. Maybe I should have toasted the nuts longer?
I actually looked at a different hazelnut spread recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, which sounded like it would work a lot better. It had the line “Grind the nuts in a food processor until pasty (the nuts will be stuck to the sides of work bowl)” , which sounded exactly like what happened to me. And then you add chocolate chips, condensed milk and honey, which also sounded like it would have produced a creamier and more delicious result.
At the end of all this my husband wondered into the room and asked what we had made.
“It’s a paste.” My friend said.
“Does it taste like Nutella?” he asked.
“No.” I said, bemused.
Then my husband scooped out a spoonful. “It’s… interesting.” he said, taking a bite. That pretty much sums it up. I may try to whip them up into some brownies and see what happens, at this point I don’t think I can make it worse.
Til next time!
Next week : Alfajores