For my third edible gift idea, I made one of my favorite foods: nutella. The first time I tasted it I was studying abroad in France. Every weekend we would have a big brunch with bowls of café au lait, cheese omelets, and fresh croissants with nutella. The delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread would almost melt on the warm, buttery pastry. It was so good. I was hooked immediately and nutella has been a staple in my pantry ever since. While I was pregnant I ate it constantly, my favorite snack being apple slices covered in peanut butter and nutella. Nothing like turning a piece of fruit into a Reese’s peanut butter cup!
To make this homemade version I used a recipe from this month’s issue of Bon Appétit. It gives you the option to use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. I went with bittersweet, because in my opinion, darker is better. This resulted in a spread slightly less sweet than traditional nutella with a much deeper, richer flavor. It’s really delicious. The recipe itself is easy to follow, the only challenge was peeling the hazelnuts. I found this tip online and it made the task pretty painless. Any pain is worth it though! In the end, you’ll have four 8-ounce jars of chocolate goodness. Give three away and keep one for yourself!
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (Gianduja)
Bon Appétit, December 2012
- 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-inch pieces, room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Four clean 8-ounce jars
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet. Roast, shaking sheet once for even toasting, until deep brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool completely. (If nuts have skins, rub them in a kitchen towel to remove.)
Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.
Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water; stir often until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over saucepan; add butter and whisk until completely incorporated. Whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.
Pour gianduja into jars, dividing equally. Let cool. (Gianduja will thicken and become soft and peanut butter-like as it cools.) Screw on lids.
DO AHEAD: Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.