Better than Nutella?

55 Comments

Many years go I purchased a Vitamix, Professional Series 300. Having gone through various brands of blenders, I was excited to finally get one with a strong reputation.
_mg_3604
I also purchased a smaller blender jar for dry ingredients. I’d always thought it would be fun as well as economical to make nut butters. But have I? No.

_mg_3815
While on a road trip in November, I read many food magazines (doesn’t everyone?) and came across this recipe. Chocolate hazelnut spread that is better than nutella. Nutella is pretty darn good, but home-made is always better of course. So I knew this would be the recipe to christen that dry blender jar.

I used my cell phone to photograph the recipe and unfortunately do not remember from which magazine this recipe came, but I did find it on Epicurious.com.

img_0389

Here’s what I did to make the “real” Nutella, based on the above ingredients; my verdict below.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, or Gianduja

2 cups (heaping) hazelnuts, preferably skinned (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toast the hazelnuts on the stove in a cast iron skillet. Let cool.

_mg_3808

Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.

_mg_3814

_mg_3810

Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Melt slowly and stir until smooth and shiny.

_mg_3818

_mg_3820

So here’s the deal – my hazelnuts and sugar never formed a “buttery paste” like they were supposed to. So I added all of the cream to the blender. You can see from the photo, the blender was working hard to combine the hazelnut mixture with the cream.

_mg_3817

The resulting mixture was stiff and thick, but smooth and not gritty.

_mg_3819

The recipe says to “whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.” Since my hazelnut paste already contained the cream, I simply folded the hazelnut mixture into the chocolate, gradually, stirring well.

_mg_3822

_mg_3824

Pour gianduja into four clean 8 ounce jars, dividing equally. Let cool.

_mg_3829

Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled.

_mg_3871

Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.

_mg_3841

If you don’t know what to do with chocolate hazelnut spread besides eat it with a spoon, I’ve got a few suggestions:

1. Spread in warm crepes, roll and eat.

2. Thin with cream and serve drizzled over a fresh-out-of-the-oven Dutch Baby or Crespella.

3. Fold gently with beaten whipped cream for an instant mousse.

_mg_3873

For a treat, I spread some chocolate-hazelnut spread on buttered toast.

_mg_3858

verdict: I’m befuddled as to why my hazelnuts didn’t grind into a hazelnut butter. Secondly, the recipe claims that the nutella will thicken; mine was already really thick, and definitely not “pourable.” My husband said that the spread reminded him of cupcake batter, which I think is an excellent comparison. Also, I would suggest 12 ounces of chocolate instead of 16 ounces, or use bittersweet chocolate instead of semi-sweet. It was too chocolatey for me.

So is this stuff good? Yes, but I will tweak the recipe next time.