The Nutella Experiment
A friend sent me a recipe in the New York Times to make your own chocolate hazelnut paste, aiming to re-create Nutella at home. The first step is toasting the hazelnuts.
How to toast hazelnuts
Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for at least 10 minutes, you may need more time if you're using a clay baking sheet. Wait until the nuts are golden brown.
Pour the nuts into a clean tea towel and let them sit for a minute. Then gather up the corners of the towel and rub the nuts together to remove the skins.
We used a Pampered Chef baking sheet and some giant Filberts, so it took about 20 minutes before the nuts were toasted. The skins flaked off most of them easily. The nuts went in the blender to be ground into hazelnut butter with a few tablespoons of walnut oil. This is where our ailing twelve year old blender failed. It got partway through blending then the speed dropped drastically and smoke started coming out of the back, so we have a chunky spread with a few whole hazelnuts in. The rest of the mixing happened in the Kitchenaid stand mixer.
The chocolate/butter mix suffered a slight water bath incident, so we lost a little butter getting the water out, but it smelled fantastic. We used a block of Callebaut dark chocolate for our semisweet ingredient. Once the mix was in jars, we put it in the fridge and over a few hours it solidified. It is easier to spread if you extract a few spoonfuls and leave it at room temperature for a half hour, then spread it on a toasted bread product like a crumpet or an English muffin.
We doubled the recipe and ended up with three small jars full. Definitely one to make again! As soon as we have a new blender...