Two-Toned Hazelnut-Chocolate Butter
Posted by hsimpsongrossman on March 19, 2014
It took an unplanned trip to France to help me overcome my psychological barrier of Nutella.
Yup. That spread that’s been around in its commercial form since the 1960’s. The same one I smear on some of my kids’ sandwiches once a week (a pre-weekend treat on Fridays). The starring player in oh so many Pinterest boards.
My mind puts Nutella right next to French fries, milk-shakes and donuts. Foods I simply can’t eat. Not for a million dollars. As soon as I see one of those foods, alarm bells go off inside my head and red lights begin flashing. Instant messages are sent from my eyes to my brain and in turn to my mouth, which gets locked upon receipt. A Pitt bull’s lock-jaw is nothing compared to mine.
I honestly don’t know what got into me that Friday morning in France. As we were tidying up the kitchen after breakfast, that nutty-chocolaty whiff from an open Nutella jar caused something in my stubborn mind to loosen up a bit. The fresh baguettes in a paper bag on the table (another food I didn’t dare taste throughout that week (all that white flour)), helped too.
“Psssst! today is Friday”, went that other Hannah inside my head. The one in charge of helping me break my own rules.
“I know, I’m in a rush. I have to finish cooking for Shabbat.”
“You’re missing the point! What do you eat for breakfast on Fridays?”
“Come on! you know very well. The same thing I have been eating every Friday for the past 20 years: coffee and cake. “
“So how about we get a bit adventurous today and eat a piece of baguette with Nutella instead? It’s a bit like cake, isn’t it? And we are on vacation, after all.”
I love it when she tells me what I want to hear and helps me find ways to override my rigid rules.
A moment later, Better Half showed up with two steaming mugs. “Where is your cake?” he asked. “I’m all set” I replied. He nearly choked over his coffee as he saw me take a bite of that Nutella smeared baguette. Then he ran for the camera..
On the flight back to Israel I was trying to remember all those recipes for homemade Nutella I’ve seen over the years, and barely one day after we landed there were two and a half cups of hazelnuts roasting in my oven.
I couldn’t resist the urge to outshine the commercial one, and decided to make a two-toned butter: half without the chocolaty addition and half with the Nutella effect.
For the hazelnut butter I used my Maple-Almond Butter recipe and substituted hazelnuts for the almonds. For the chocolaty one I combined a number of recipes I had found on the web, trying to cherry-pick the healthier components from each: maple syrup rather than powdered sugar, hazelnut oil rather than butter. I chose to use cocoa rather than chocolate and didn’t use milk so as to keep it dairy-free (while some bittersweet chocolates are non dairy, others are).
After tasting a spoonful of the first batch, Better Half and I agreed it needs more sweetness and a runnier consistency. I put the butter back in the food processor, drizzled some more maple syrup and hazelnut oil and processed a bit more. This time it was perfect. As both hazelnuts and maple syrups vary in flavor and food-processors vary in strength, please do taste the butter prior to washing up the food processor’s parts, just in case you want to fix its flavor or texture.
Don’t expect a replica of the store bought Nutella, as the consistency of the homemade one isn’t as smooth. Yet, as much as I was smitten by the commercial Nutella, I prefer the homemade version as it tastes richer and smoky and one knows precisely what’s in it.
It goes without saying (I hope), that you can skip the marbled, two-toned effect and make either the chocolaty version or the clean hazelnut one. In fact, between you, silent readers and I, Yours Truly prefers the non-chocolaty layer to the Nutella-like one.
One last note: it was disappointing to discover that store bought Nutella is cheaper than homemade one. Hazelnuts are pretty expensive over here (possibly everywhere), as are good peanut/hazelnut oil and maple syrup. So, unfortunately, this is not the case for saving money but rather for giving oneself a healthy treat.
Hazelnut-Chocolate Butter on the Spot: Roast hazelnuts. Remove skin. Process with other ingredients until spreadable. Voilà!
Two Toned Hazelnut Chocolate Butter
For about 11/2 cups of Hazelnut butter:
1 amount of the Maple-Almond Butter recipe
For a bit over 1 1/2 cups of the Chocolate-Hazelnut butter:
2 1/2 cups whole hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons hazelnut or peanut oil (another vegetable oil can be used but won’t taste the same), divided
For the Hazelnut butter:
Follow the directions of the Maple-Almond Butter recipe, substituting hazelnuts for almonds and following steps 2-3 below for skinning the nuts.
For the Chocolate-Hazelnut butter:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the hazelnuts on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and roast until darkened and aromatic, about 10 -14 minutes, tossing a few times to ensure even baking without burning. Allow the nuts to cool.
- Remove the skin from the cooled nuts by placing them in a damp towel and rubbing them together. Don’t fret over bits of skin stuck to some of the hazelnuts- leave them on. I actually love the added smoky flavor and rough texture they add to the butter.
- Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and grind them to a liquefied butter, for about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for another 30 seconds.
- Add the cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth and spreadable.
- If the butter is too thick, add additional hazelnut oil, a teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency (smooth enough to spread) is achieved. If the spread seems too thin, do not worry as it will thicken in the fridge.
- Spoon alternating layers of Hazelnut and Chocolate-Hazelnut butters into clean jars.
- Allow the spread to come to room temperature about 10-15 minutes before using, so that it becomes more spreadable.
- The butter will kip well for up to 3 weeks, refrigerated.
Filed under Dips and Spreads