Eat This, Nerds. I Made Nutella.

A few weeks ago, I made mustard. Last week I decided to try my hand at making Nutella, my son's sandwich spread of choice. It's the only kind of sandwich he ever wants -- a chocolate sandwich. So I thought I'd see if I could replicate the chocolate/hazelnut spread at home and if it would taste the same, worse, or better.

I used the same America's Test Kitchen DIY book that I used to make the mustard.

The concept is really simple. Roast the hazelnuts, remove the shells (this is the most difficult part of the process; but it's not taxing, just tedious), process the nuts in a food processor until creamy, and then add the other ingredients. Not hard at all.

But how did it taste?


Cost: $5 for the hazelnuts, which I found in bulk at Mariano's. Most of the other ingredients (powdered sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt) are pantry staples. The only weird one is hazelnut oil, which I also found at Mariano's and which cost around $8-$10. That sounds like a lot, but I'll be able to use it for future batches of Nutella and salad dressing, yum. All in all, the cost was about the same as a store bought jar of Nutella (taking into account that I'll be able to reuse most of the ingredients next time), if slightly more expensive.

Is it like real Nutella?: Dare I say it? It's better. It spreads nicely, like the real thing, but has a depth of flavor you won't find on your grocery store shelf. I can resist the regular Nutella, no problem; but the homemade stuff keeps calling my name and reminding me that I have pretzels on the shelf to dip into it.

Ease of Process: Pretty darn easy. As I mentioned, the only hard part was shelling the hazelnuts. The ATK book suggests "creating a maraca" and placing two same-sized bowls on top of each other and shaking the shells off the nuts. This works pretty well except, 1) the shells tend to escape the bowls and go everywhere, 2) you have to pick the individual nuts out of the bowl one by one, and 3) some parts of the shells simply do not want to come off (and you do want them to come off, because otherwise the spread will be bitter), which means you have to try and scrape them off with your fingernail (or maybe I should've left the nuts in the oven just a few seconds longer). But really, in the grand scheme of things, this is not too difficult or time consuming. And it's such mindless work, it's almost zen.

Would I Make This Again?: For sure, and not only because I have a bottle full of hazelnut oil I need to use. I'd also consider using the same process to make other nut/chocolate combinations. How about a Reese's-like peanut/chocolate spread?

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Tags: cooking

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