From Scratch: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

You’d be surprised how many convenience products (jellies, spreads, dips) are a cinch to make from scratch. And the quality will leave you wondering why you ever spent $4 on something pre-made. This recipe is my take on blogger (and sweets expert) David Lebovitz‘s Nutella. He calls for whole powdered milk which I’ve only found in specialty markets, so I opted for the more easily accessible nonfat version and added a thickening cornstarch slurry to ensure that the end product turns out as velvety as what you’d buy in the store. Spread on toast and top with banana slices, smear on stone fruit (peaches, nectarines) or just eat it with a spoon — which is what I like to do.

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

2 cups whole hazelnuts
1 3/4 cups whole milk, divided
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup powdered nonfat milk
3 tbs. honey (I like clover honey)
pinch of salt
7 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped

Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a 350º oven for 12-15 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan. While the nuts are still warm, remove as many of the skins as possible. (Most of the skins will loosen in the oven but for the stubborn ones place the nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously.) The hazelnuts don’t have to be completely clean, but remove as much of the skin as you can. Process the nuts in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.

In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of milk until combined. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan whisk together the remaining milk, powdered milk, honey and salt over medium heat. When bubbles start to form around the edges, add the cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk until the milk thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

In a heat proof bowl melt the chocolate. You can do this on a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave. For the microwave, heat the chocolate in 20 second intervals, stirring thoroughly until smooth. It should only take two or three cycles before the chocolate is melted. Do not burn the chocolate.

Once the nuts are pureed smooth, add the chocolate and continue to process until combined, scrapping the sides as needed. Then add the thickened milk mixture and process until smooth and homogenized. Portion into glass jars and refrigerate. Will keep for about 3 weeks.

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