Categories
Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

If you like Nutella, but find that it is too sweet and simultaneously neither quite hazelnutty nor chocolatey enough, then you know exactly how I feel. In my quest for a perfectly rich and nutty butter, I have tried various different brands, including Patchi and Neuhaus. None of them really hit the spot, unfortunately. The problem was their texture, their weak chocolate flavour, and the fact that I could taste only a hint of hazelnut flavour in them.

Then, it occurred to me, a few years ago: why not make my own butter? I’ve tried various versions of my own butter since then, but this recipe is now my favourite! This butter’s texture is rich and velvety and the flavour is a perfect balance of dark chocolate and the unmatched, gloriously nutty flavour of real, toasted hazelnuts. A quick note: the more you like the dark chocolate you use in this recipe, the better the butter will taste.

Here it is, poured over a slice of bread, looking so delightfully smooth and glossy!

 

If you want to try making some yourself, this is the equipment you will need:

  • A food processor or powerful blender (I use a Blendtec)
  • An oven
  • A baking tray
  • A tea towel
  • A spatula
  • A jar

And here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 450g Hazelnuts
  • 35-45 g sugar (based on your taste) (I use castor sugar but if your processor/blender is not too powerful, I recommend using icing sugar) (you could also use maple or agave syrup, to taste)
  • 172 g good quality dark chocolate, to taste (my favourite is Cotê d’or)
  • A pinch or two of salt.
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence or hazelnut flavouring (optional)(I use this one).
  • 1-2 tsp of hazelnut oil (optional)

 

Method:

1. Toast the hazelnuts at 350 F in a baking tray for about 15 minutes, until they turn light brown and fragrant, tossing them periodically.

2. After they’ve cooled, place them at the centre of a tea towel/kitchen towel. Wrap the nuts securely in the towel and then roll the wrapped up nuts on any hardish surface. This will help remove their skins. After you’ve rolled the nuts about for a bit, open up the towel, and pick out the skinned nuts. Repeat this step if there are still a lot of nuts with skins on them.

3. Toss the skinned nuts into a food processor or blender and grind them up until they turn into a smooth butter.

4. Melt the dark chocolate in a the microwave or over a bain-marie.  If you have a powerful blender you can skip this step.

5. Throw in the melted chocolate, sugar, a pinch or two of salt (to taste), a teaspoon or two of vanilla essence or hazelnut flavouring, and a teaspoon or two of hazelnut oil.

6. Blend everything until it feels smooth enough to you, and there you have it! Your own homemade chocolate hazelnut butter!

My favourite way to eat it is on bread with some homemade peanut butter! Mmmmmm!

Categories
Baking Chocolate Food Recipes

Dark Chocolate Brazil Nut Butter (better than Nutella!)(seriously!!).

As much as I love chocolate, I love nutty flavours- not more, not less, just exactly the same amount. Now, while generally the hazelnut has been my nut of choice (although walnuts are lovely too and well peanuts are as unexotic as they are delicious) I think I have a new favourite- the brazil-nut.

In one sense my brazil-nut love-affair began a long time ago. The body shop has these rich, creamy body-butters and my favourite has always been their brazil-nut body butter. It’s absolutely delectable. Anyway, although I loved this body-butter, I’d never really eaten a brazil-nut before, or baked/cooked with these nuts. Then, one lovely summer weekend, my awesome father came to visit. It was wonderful to spend time with him and we walked and talked together, all over the city. As always, he wanted to get me something special as a parting present as it were, and we settled upon a food processor. This is now my favourite toy. It’s amazing and it makes life SO much easier. I shall rant about said toy in another post though, this post is about brazil-nuts.

Anyway, the first thing I decided to make with my processor was home-made nutella. And this project turned out quite well indeed. So well in fact, that the next day, I was out of butter. This time I decided to be adventurous. “This body-butter smells delicious”, I said to myself, “if I like these lotions and potions because they are inspired by food that I love, does it not follow that I would love the food that inspired my most treasured skin-concoction of all??!!”

So I went to the store and bought 100 g of Brazil-nuts. This is what they looked like:

I used only 100g because I wasn’t sure how the experiment would turn out. Here is an account of how things turned out:

Other ingredients I used:

About a cup of icing sugar (it’s important to use icing sugar and not any other kind because you don’t want discrete crystals of it in your butter. You want the butter to have a smooth texture)

1/2 to 3/4 tsp vanilla essence

A pinch of salt

1 tsp or so of peanut oil

About 100 g of good quality dark chocolate

Method:

I began by toasting the brazil-nuts in the oven at 375 farenheit (that’s 180 celsius) for about 10 minutes, tossing the nuts once during this time. I let them cool, and then placed them in a tea-towel and rubbed them against each other until their skins came off. (This process is a little boring and repetitive, so I recommend watching some television or chatting with a friend while you do this.)

Once their skins were mostly off, I put the nuts in the processor and then just let it run for a while. You don’t need to add any butter or oil at all at this stage. Just let the processor do it’s thing. If you’re wondering which blade you should use, check the processor manual- it should tell you what blade/setting works for nut-butters. The nuts will first be crushed, then they’ll be ground to a fine paste and finally you will find them turning to butter. While the nuts are being processed place the chocolate in a bowl and melt it in the microwave. Be sure to do this on a low setting as you don’t want to burn the chocolate. Ideally, you should melt the chocolate in a double boiler to avoid this, but I find that if I am careful, I can do it in the microwave. Once the nuts are smooth, creamy and buttery in texture, stop the processor.

Add the salt, peanut oil, vanilla essence, half the melted chocolate and a few tablespoons of sugar to the butter. Run the processor. Stop and taste-test. if you feel it needs more chocolate or sugar, add some more and process again. Repeat the taste-test and sugar-chocolate adjustments, if necessary. I think it’s best not to follow a recipe in this regard, but to just wing it. As I said in an earlier post about my “universal dark chocolate icing“, each of us has very particular preferences, so why not try and make something perfectly suited to one’s own palate?

Once you’ve played around with the sugar-chocolate balance and found the perfect equilibrium between the two, and made sure everything has been evenly and smoothly mixed together, stop the processor. The butter will look and smell and delicious as you pour it into a jar or tupperware. Here’s proof of how amazing it looks at least:

“I should have made more!”, I lamented to myself. I really should have. And so should you! Double the recipe!

The texture is slightly thin, so if you’d like it thicker so you can spread it on bread etc., put it in the fridge. (I eat nutella with a tablespoon, not bread, so I don’t understand the other half of the population that eat’s it WITH things (unless it’s ice cream they eat it with, THAT I understand).) It’ll look like this once you put it in the fridge.

Ok, not exactly like this. Quite obviously, I got to this with a tablespoon FIRST and THEN realized I should have photographed it. Anyway, you get the idea about the butter’s texture.

All in all, this was deliciousness itself. It tastes absolutely incredible, way better than any nut-butter I’ve tried before.