Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homemade nutella

This weekend I was in San Francisco, walking down Union Street with some friends, when we came across a kid, a woman, and two men near a corner holding signs that said:

Free Hugs!

I then proceeded to get a hug from an 8-10 year old boy and a middle-aged gentleman. Immediately afterwards a bunch of thoughts popped in my head (although not necessarily in this particular order):

"So weird!" 
"Only in California..."
"WTF?"
"Who are these people and why are they doing this?"
"I wonder how people in Chicago would react to strangers offering free hugs??"

Finally, after I was no longer focused on my feelings of surprise/confusion/questioning, I was left with a single feeling:

Pure happiness. :)

I couldn't help but smile after such a unique, but pleasant, encounter! Sure, my gut reaction wasn't one of excitement when random strangers offered up hugs and start touching me. But it was a total trip, and something you can't help but be happy about after experiencing it. And we'd be a lot better off if strangers out there offered up free hugs instead of free scowls.

You know what else we'd be a lot better off with if strangers offered to others?

Homemade nutella.


Because you can't eat nutella without being happy. And that's a fact.

I've been inspired to make my own nutella since my (Italian) friend Silvia told me nutella is considered ghetto in Italy and made me try the real deal. Woah! It tasted like chocolate and hazelnuts; not too sweet yet creamy and delicious.


Although my version isn't quite as good as what she shared with me, it's pretty amazing.

I found a recipe that used both cocoa and melted chocolate. But I think I'd like to try it again and use the cocoa only version to see which I like better. This recipe was delicious, but the flavor of the chocolate you use really comes through. I used Trader Joe's chocolate, which was good, but I think using a better quality chocolate is the way to go.

Making your own nutella is easy, all you need are some hazelnuts (or any nut really), chocolate, and a food processor. Ready?? Let's go!!

Step 1: Get your hazelnuts. Take a pretty photo of them.

Step 2: Pop 'em in the oven for a quick roast. Then throw them on a hand towel and...

Step 3: ... start rubbing like mad! This will remove the (semi difficult to remove) skins off the nuts.
See the nuts at the left? Those are "rouge" hazelnuts whose skins 
wouldn't come off very easily. So I just ate those instead of using them in the nutella.

Step 4: Place nekkid hazelnuts in the food processor. Grind them for ~3-5 minutes. In the next photos I'll show you how you can magically turn nuts to nut-butter in just a few minutes. (Note: DO NOT add anything to the nuts at this point. No oil, no liquid, nada.)
Whole nuts, ready to be pulverized!

After ~1 minute the nuts are a coarse, crumbly mixture. Keep grinding...

 After another minute, the nuts are starting to resemble a creamy nut butter, but it's still a bit coarse.

After yet another minute, you can see how smooth and creamy the nuts are getting!

Final minute of grinding, the butter becomes even more smooth.

At this point, you have a nut butter! Stop if you want to make hazelnut butter to spread on a sandwich. But continue if you want to make chocolately nutella.

Step 5: Add the melted chocolate/cocoa mixture (and powdered sugar) to the hazelnut butter and pulse to combine.

Step 6: Spread onto toast and enjoy!

Buen Provecho,
Jackie

Homemade Nutella, adapted from In Jennie's Kitchen

Ingredients

1 cup hazelnuts (or any other type of nut)
4 oz good quality chocolate, melted
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more or less to taste
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

Directions

1. Roast hazelnuts in a 350˚F oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place onto a hand towel. Immediately start rubbing to remove the skins. For the tough-to-remove skins, wait a few minutes until the nuts are cool enough to handle and use your fingers to remove the skins.

2. Grind the nuts in the food processor until liquidy and they have a peanut-butter consistency. This will take about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the chocolate, cocoa, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. Only add a few drops of oil if you need to-- I found I didn't have to for the hazelnuts.

Notes:
* The spread was pretty liquidy when I first made it, but sitting on my counter it got much thicker. So from the jar it's not as smooth as the uber-processed nutella, but the second you spread it on hot toast it gets all melty and soft. mmmmm.....

* This nutella isn't quite and creamy and smooth as the purchased kind. I wouldn't say it's gritty, but there's a bit more texture to it. That's why it's important to remove as much of the skin from the nuts as you can. If you want I guess you could strain the nuts before adding the chocolate. But I'm much too lazy for that.

2 comments:

Stephenie said...

Being from San Francisco, free hugs are the lovely random acts of kindness we like to bestow on everyone. Everyone could use one! :)

What kind of chocolate was used? %-wise? I just had nutella for breakfast and it's getting overly sweet for me. I want it try something darker...

Jacqueline said...

Stephenie,

I used the Trader Joes dark chocolate (72% dark I think is the percentage). The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can you can control the sweetness level by adding whatever chocolate you want (milk, semisweet, dark) and by adjusting the amount of powdered sugar you use (none or a ton!). A fun recipe to play around with to fit the needs of your taste buds!

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