I wonder what chestnuts roasting on an open fire smells like? Because all I know is that hazelnuts roasting in my closed oven smell damn delicious! It is 100% the best holiday baking scent that you could ever achieve, for the least amount of work.
The Good News
Believe it or not, homemade Nutella is a real possibility, and you can do it easy peasy with the help of a food processor or high powered blender.
I always feel proud when I make something tasty that I can enjoy with my loved ones, and secondly, I always feel better knowing that I have eradicated those weird science lab ingredients from my kitchen concoctions.
What I Want You To Know About Making Nutella At Home
This recipe is from Dana Schultz at the Minimalist Baker. Check out her original post here! Follow her on Instagram @minimalistbaker, and subscribe to her blog at www.miniamlistbaker.com; Dana taught me everything that I know about making Nutella, and we need to thank her!
Buying the Hazelnuts
I purchased my hazelnuts from the bulk bin at a health store; I can’t recall seeing hazelnuts in the aisle with other nuts, let alone 3 cups worth.
But if you’re committed to Nutella, and can’t find hazelnuts, try raw, unsalted cashews, walnuts, peanuts, or even sunflower seeds. I haven’t experimented with these other seeds yet, but I am not one for allowing obstacles to stand between a person and freshly made Nutella.
Roasting the Hazelnuts
For making the Nutella, we begin by roasting the hazelnuts so that we can get their oils activated, helping to yield a creamy butter.
The recipe says to roast raw hazelnuts for 12-15 minutes, and I roasted mine for 14 minutes, but that was probably 2-3 minutes too long. I took the hazelnuts out at minute 14, at which point I saw that they were kind of smoking. I actually thought that my smoke detector may go off so I opened the door to outside and turned on the fan.
If you listen closely you can hear the oils from the hazelnuts sizzling. Those oils are definitely activated!
Removing the Skins: The Most Difficult Step in the Entire Recipe
The most difficult step in this entire recipe is removing all of the skins from the hazelnuts! It’s tedious and time consuming. But it’s an important step because this, too, helps in achieving a smoother and creamier butter.
I placed the hazeluts in a paper towel, and then placed the paper towel between my palms and rubbed my palms together. This helps to remove and loosen the skins. You can use a kitchen towel, too.
This step doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to do your best. In the photos below you can see that by the end there were more than a few hazelnuts left that still had their skin on. Some skins wouldn’t budge too much, and that’s okay.
Blending the Hazelnuts: Let’s Get This Show on the Road
Dana says to blend the hazelnuts in the food processor until it gets creamy, about 8 minutes, but my hazelnuts got super creamy at 2 minutes, and then even creamier with an additional 2 minutes. Maybe because I had been so committed to removing the skins?
I used the microwave to melt the chocolate, and was able to get it all nice and melty with 3, 30 second intervals. I used mini non-dairy, dark chocolate chips.
You can use normal chocolate chips, too, the kind with dairy in them. And knowing me, I would probably try milk chocolate chips at some point because my unsophisticated palette enjoys those.
If you don’t have a microwave you can use the double broiler method to melt the chocolate; click here for some photos if you aren’t sure what that is.
The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and then season to taste.
I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of maple syrup. The recipe card below lists the total for what I put into the Nutella, meaning the original recipe recommendations + my own additions.
Dana says that the Nutella seems to get stiffer with the more liquid sweetener added, so I tried to be cautious with my additions.
Someone who doesn’t care for sweet and salt could probably get away with adding only the initial 1/2 teaspoon of salt, or even 3/4 teaspoons. But I am okay with sweet and salty, so my 1 teaspoon was just fine. And note, they were not heaping teaspoons, but rather scant.
The texture is thick, kind of like brownie batter. It’s even kind of thick when you eat it on the first day. I guess like real nut butter, as opposed to store bought peanut butter. And its a little grainier than the smoothness of store bought Nutella.
The two photos below are an example of how the butter gets thicker and stiffer as you add liquid sweetener. In the first photo the spatula is covered with the Nutella prior to adding the additional vanilla and maple syrup; look at how smooth and almost silky it is. The second photo shows the Nutella after adding the additional vanilla and maple syrup; the texture is thicker and has a heavier body. And tastes so damn good!
I will say, the first day I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about the Nutella. I wasn’t sure about the seasonings, and I wasn’t sure about the texture. It almost felt too thick in my mouth, like, almost not palatable. But after the Nutella sat at room temp for a day or two, it’s like everything melded together perfectly: the taste was on point, and so was the texture.
According to recipe creator, Dana, store the Nutella at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, and up to 1 month. Maybe even more. I assume you will know when the Nutella has expired because of taste and scent; however, I don’t think my Nutella will last beyond this initial week, anyway.
Y'all, you will feel so good about making your own Nutella at home. It's so simple: hazelnuts + dark chocolate + salt + vanilla + maple syrup. The best part? This Nutella is missing all those store-bought-science-lab ingredients.
- 3 cups raw or roasted unsalted hazelnuts
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate*
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add hazelnuts to a baking sheet in a single layer. First we are roasting the hazelnuts in order to get their oils activated and yield an even creamier butter. For raw hazelnuts roast 12-14 minutes. For roasted hazelnuts roast for 8-9 minutes.
If you leave the hazelnuts in for too long it will begin to smell like they are burning, and there may even be smoke when you remove them from the oven, so don't overdo the roasting.
When the time is up, remove the hazelnuts and let them cool slightly. Begin removing the skins from the hazelnuts. This, too, will help in yielding an even creamier butter. You can use a dish towel to rub the hazelnuts in the towel, between the palms of your hands, to loosen and remove the skins.
This is as "difficult" (air quotes required) as this recipe gets, simply because this step is just so tedious. And time consuming. And while this step doesn't have to be done perfectly, you really want to do your best so that you get the smoothest butter possible.
Leaving the excess skins behind, place the hazelnuts in the food processor, or high speed blender, and blend until a butter is formed. Some accounts say this takes 8-10 minutes, but for me, it took about 4 minutes. I think because I got most of the skins off?
Scrape down the sides as needed.
While the nuts are blending, melt the chocolate. I melted my chocolate in the microwave in three 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Set aside once melted.
Once the hazelnut butter is creamy and smooth, add the chocolate, salt, and vanilla, and blend/puree again until well incorporated.
Pour in the maple syrup, and blend one last time.
Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperate. The Nutella will last for 2-3 weeks, up to one month, maybe more.
Go follow Dana on Instagram @minimalistbaker, and subscribe to the blog at www.minimalistbaker.com!
You can use dairy free dark chocolate, if you are vegan or dairy free. I'm not, but I used dairy-free anyway, and I didn't miss the dairy at all!
The liquid sweetener you add, the stiffer the butter gets, so add sparingly.