Some people in our house LOVE nutella (and its cheaper balkan cousin Eurocream). A jar of nutella bought on Friday has very little chance of making it through the weekend. It’s eaten on crepes, on toast, on waffles, and most frequently–straight from the jar with a spoon. To be honest, I don’t really get it. It sort of reminds me of eating a big jar of frosting, and I almost always would prefer a little peanut or almond butter. Also, I am a little irritated by the European obsession with hazelnuts. They are lurking in just about every baked good on this continent, and I’m almost positive that most people have no idea what chocolate tastes like without them.
Still, even I was wooed by the gourmet chocolate spreads I came across on my trip to the South of France last year. I brought one home. It lasted about a day an a half. What I liked about it, was that it tasted a little more “rustic” than nutella. The texture was smooth, but you could still tell it was made from nuts. The chocolate flavor was strong, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. I kept thinking, “I bet I could make this.”
Of course, given my aversion and minor allergy to hazelnuts, I was after homemade almond nutella. I looked at several homemade nutella recipes, some that were simple: nuts + chocolate = nutella. Some were “natural” (these days that really just means sweetened with dates…). Some were fancy and included milk or cream.
Obviously, I went for the simple option. I started by making some almond butter (almonds + salt), and then added a bit of melted chocolate to it. The flavor was good but it lacked depth, so I added a few spoons of cocoa powder and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mmmm. I left mine a teensy bit on the rough side, but I’m sure you could keep blending until it’s silky smooth.
I enjoyed a spoon of this yummy homemade almond nutella on a slice (or two) of bread. I also schmeared some in between two layers of blondie batter for a gooey, almondy center. Of course it would also go great inside a crepe, on top of a waffle, or along side a banana!
- 3.5 cups raw almonds
- 200 grams chocolate (about 1 cup chopped)
- scant 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.
- Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently until toasty brown and the skins start to crack. (If you are testing them, the insides should just start to change color, but not reach a golden brown.) Remove from oven and let cool.
- Add almonds to the bowl of a food processor. Process until you have a smooth almond butter. (This should take about 5 minutes. At first the almonds will form a powder, and then a really stiff paste. Just keep blending until the oils are released and you have a smooth and creamy almond butter. I like to pause every minute or so to scrape down the sides of the bowl and give my food processor a little rest.)
- Once you have smooth almond butter, add the salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla and pulse a few times to incorporate. Using a double boiler or a small bowl in the microwave, melt the chocolate.
- Add chocolate to the almond butter mixture and process until well combined.
- The nutella will keep at room temperature for a couple of weeks…as if it will last that long!