A week before Christmas, some dear friends knocked on our door with a jar of homemade Nutella. Four or five days later, my husband poked his head into the refrigerator, wanting to sample some.
“What happened to the Nutella?” he looked to me, standing nearby.
“Um…” I averted my eyes guiltily, “So how ‘bout those Jayhawks?”
It wasn’t a proud moment, but — one piece of hot, crispy toast at a time — I had somehow consumed the entire jar.
Promising to make amends, I began researching recipes to make my husband more. But as I looked at lists of ingredients, I quickly realized that, in addition to hazelnuts, most recipes contained milk, sugar, chocolate and a splash of vanilla. Those four ingredients happen to be the exact same as those contained in an average bag of dark chocolate chips.
With that revelation, I went to the store and purchased only two ingredients — a bag of hazelnuts and a bag of chocolate chips.
While it certainly isn’t health food, the result has less oil and at least a little less sugar than store-bought Nutella. (It’s about 85 calories a tablespoon to real Nutella’s 100, in case you’re curious.) What’s more, while you will need a food processor, it’s an easy treat that’s every bit as smooth and addictive as the original.
Makes about 3 8-ounce jars
3 cups hazelnuts
10 ounce bag dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Nuts burn fast, so keep a close eye on them.
Carefully dump the roasted hazelnuts on a clean tea towel. Putting another clean tea towel on top of them, roll the hazelnuts between the two towels to remove the skins as best you can.
Then, put the hazelnuts in your food processor, and process until they give up their oils and turn into a smooth butter. This takes 20-30 minutes, so don’t get impatient. Every few minutes, stop your food processor to scrape down the sides and give the motor a rest.
When you’ve successfully made nut butter — which is delicious on its own, by the way — begin melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted, turn the food processor back on and carefully drizzle the melted chocolate through the spout into the hazelnut butter. When the chocolate is well-incorporated, spoon the Nutella into clean jars.
Because the chocolate is hot it will look more like a sauce, but with a few hours in the fridge it will solidify into the delicious spread that we all know and love. Word to the wise, though: Don’t eat it all before your significant other gets home!
— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at www.mybitofearth.net.