Chocolate Hazelnut Spread


choc-hazelnut-butter

As a kid, Nutella used to be one of my favorite spreads- on toast, on crackers, on cookies, in a spoon…  But I’m far more conscious about ingredients and nutrition now, and the fact that Nutella is so loaded with sugar and palm oil somehow makes it less appetizing.   On my quest to find a healthier chocolate hazelnut spread to satisfy my Nutella craving, the options seem to fall short.  “Sugar-free” appears synonymous with “sugar substitute added” (and I don’t like the aftertastes).  Raw and organic options were gritty instead of creamy.  Some options had too many extraneous ingredients…  Eventually, I figured I should just try making it at home to suit my preferences.  Four ingredients and 3 batches later… I settled on a recipe that I love!

Ingredients

8 oz hazelnuts, skins removed (I get the dry roasted, unsalted Oregon hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s)

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (or dark chocolate if you prefer some sweetness), roughly chopped

4 oz unsalted butter, cut in to big pieces

pinch of sea salt

Directions

1.  Heat oven to 350 F.  Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes.  Heating the hazelnuts up makes the oil come out and results in a smoother nut butter.

2.  While the hazelnuts are toasting, combine the chocolate, butter, and salt in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds, then stir.  Continue to microwave and stir in 15 second increments until the chocolate-butter mix is melted and smooth.

3.  As soon as the hazelnuts are toasted, transfer them to a high power blender (I use Vitamix).  Blend on high until it forms a creamy hazelnut butter.   Add the chocolate and blend on high until it is uniform.  Pour it straight into a glass jar for storage.  The spread will look liquidy since it’s still warm, but it will firm up as it cools down.

4.  Store the spread in the fridge.  It is easier to spread when it’s room temperature, but I like to keep it in the fridge since there is butter in it.

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