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Happy hump-day folks! It's me! Heather's charming and talented baby sister, Dana! Cutting right to the chase, what I've...

What to Eat Wednesday - Eat More Chocolate (and Nuts)!

By 2/24/2016 , , , , ,


Happy hump-day folks!

It's me! Heather's charming and talented baby sister, Dana!

Cutting right to the chase, what I've got for y'all today is a recipe test with some helpful tips/random thoughts at the end.

This is not my recipe by any means, but rather from Whole Foods. In case you couldn't guess from the title (and if you did, points!), we're making a homemade version of Nutella today!  Or, as I like to call it, HC spread.


Chocolate Hazelnut Spread


Author: Whole Foods

Ingredients


  • 1/3 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1 1/3 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened plain almondmilk
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread almonds and hazelnuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly. Place nuts in a clean kitchen towel, and rub together to remove as much skin from hazelnuts as possible; discard skins. Transfer nuts to a food processor and grind as finely as possible, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of food processor bowl as needed.
  2. Combine almond milk and dates in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until dates completely break down, about 10 minutes. Add date mixture, cocoa powder and vanilla to the food processor and purée until very smooth.

Enjoy warm or chilled. Hazelnut spread will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

There's barely a blog post to be written about this, as it's more assembly than anything.  Well, except for the fact that you can make make this sumptuous, amazing, magical mana from heaven in your own kitchen now!


Note the labels on the bags.  TJ's is my number one choice for dried fruits and nuts.  Seriously, if you have one near you, take advantage.  They've got the best prices and variety.  I didn't even think I was going to be able to do this recipe because I didn't expect to find hazelnuts anywhere.  Wrong!



TJ's also has almond milk, but you may notice that my dates came from good ol' Target.  Love that place.  I honestly don't remember if TJ's had dates because I didn't look since I already had them in my cabinet.  I'd bet good money they do.  And, hey, if you don't have a TJ's near you, Target might just be the next best option.


So this was the post-roast skinning part of the recipe.  Not my favorite (see my notes below).  [Enter nut, sack, and skin jokes here].



And here's everything ready to go in.  A word of advice, unless your food processor is really powerful, add some extra liquid at this step.  Buster here had a little trouble once everything started to come together.  It's really, really thick.



Tadaa!  And here's the finished product.  Don't be fooled.  That bowl may look small, but it's actually a lot of HC spread.  Invite your friends!

So here's how this recipe broke down for me:

Pros:

  • This is real food! You can eat it off a spoon and call it a proper snack!
  • Super easy to make. I did the dishes and a few other things around my kitchen while the nuts and milk did their thing
  • The leftovers (for the most part) can be saved for a long time. I hate recipes that use just a little a little bit of a hard to use ingredient with a short shelf life. The almond milk is the only issue with this argument (see ideas for next time below)
  • So versatile! I mixed mine with my Greek yogurt, which made a sort of very grown up chocolate pudding type of thing. Other ideas include…
    • Toast (duh)
    • With bananas or other fruit
    • Mix it into coffee or hot milk
      • Seriously, go with me here. Yes, you get the bitsy granules of nuts, but you also get delicious flavor. You’re basically drinking a Ferrero Rocher. If you don’t like the bitsiness, don’t use this idea
    • Blend it into your smoothies
    • Thin it out a lot with water or more almond milk or regular milk and make it into a syrup for ice cream
    • You remember the thing I said about eating it off of a spoon?

What I would do differently:

  • Add more dates. Why? Because one of the lovely things about Nutella is that it’s sweet. And dates are basically solid little mounds of syrupy sweetness. Honestly, have you ever eaten a date straight? It’s like chewing a wad of syrup. If we’re going for a true copycat here, my batch, while delicious, was not as sweet as I would like
  • Add more liquid because that stuff if like kindergarten paste. A little less viscosity would be nice. Plus, if I do end up adding more dates, I’ll need that extra liquid
    • You could try to accomplish both these points by adding honey or agave nectar, but…
      • I don’t know how/if that would change the flavor
      • In order to get the right consistency, you might have to add more honey or nectar than you want sweetness
    • Maybe add a mixture of honey/nectar and almond milk
  • I would like to find a different liquid to use than almond milk. I don’t really drink almond milk, and there’s quite a bit left. What about normal water? You’d still have the nut and cocoa flavors. Perhaps that will be my solution for the next batch
  • I might just skip the skinning step next time. Of all the (easy) steps, this was the most time consuming. And for what? It doesn’t affect the color since you’re putting an entire cup of cocoa powder in there, and I don’t think the flavor would be affected either
Again, I say, this is magic.  Do it on a day you want to impress people and not work too hard doing it.

Enjoy!
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