Homemade hazelnut chocolate spread

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Originally known as ‘pasta gianduja’, this Italian spread is a nostalgic childhood treat that always have fascinated to people with sweet tooth. The concern of a store bought jar is that is loaded with modified palm oil and extra spoons of sugar. It is good news that you can make your own homemade spread from scratch with just 4 ingredients in 20 minutes.

I had collected a bag full of turkish hazelnuts in the autumn thinking about making my own spread, but I never found time to make it. However,  you can also use shop bought ones for this recipe and they are generally bigger.

The result is invariably awesome. You can really taste the hazelnuts and it has a silky texture that makes it a moreish treat. Furthermore, you can leave some big hazelnut chunks to add a bonus not found in the shop bought version. You will find yourself standing in front of the fridge spoon in hand, unable to stop.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (up to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of milk (or hazelnut milk to lactose free recipe)
  • 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven at 180°C and spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes until their skins begin to crack. Remove the skins by wrapping them in a kitchen towel and gently rubbing them to remove as much skin as possible in order to remove bitterness and achieve the right consistency. I used Turkish hazelnuts and skins did not need to be removed, as they are softer and not too bitter.
  2. Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they form creamy nut butter with a runny consistency.
  3. Add honey, cocoa powder and milk and process until well combined. Play with milk and honey to get your desired consistency and sweetness. The mix will dry a little bit after left in the fridge.

 

You can store your spread in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week or two, but it will last a couple of days for sure!

Spread on top of seeded bread, baguettes or crepes (see homemade acorn crepes) or use it as part of an icing in a chocolate cake. Cover banana chunks and strawberries and let them cool in the fridge for an indulgent fruity treat.

 

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