I’m not a huge hazelnut fan, so I’m not a huge Nutella fan either.  But Mike is, and so when I saw a recipe from David Lebovitz on making your own, I decided I had to try.

It’s an interesting recipe.  As written, it calls for hazelnuts and almonds, some milk and milk powder, a bit of honey, and two kinds of chocolate.  For the first batch, I made it exactly as the recipe suggested. 

Start by roasting the nuts.  Remember to keep a close eye on them – by the time they start to smell roasted, they’re probably starting to burn.  You can do them in the oven, and time them carefully, but I’ve also had good luck toasting nuts in a cast iron pan on the stovetop.

Once they’re toasted, knock off any of the skin that comes off easily.  The recipe suggests rolling them in a tea towel, but I didn’t have much luck getting that to work.  I just rubbed them between my fingers and got most of the skins off.

Toss them in the food processor:

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And grind them up as fine as your food processor will grind them.  I ran mine until it started to heat up, let it cool down, and ran it again.  I never did get it incredibly fine, but I have an old food processor. 

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Chop up the chocolate, and melt it. I used the microwave, 30 seconds at a time.  I actually own a double-boiler, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I used it.  Microwaves are so perfect for melting chocolate.

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Add the melted chocolate to the nut mixture and pulse to combine. 

Mix up the milk, the milk powder, and the honey, and warm it to a boil in a saucepan.  I couldn’t find whole milk powder, so I just used the nonfat milk powder I had in the pantry.  Add the warm milk to the food processor, and run it until everything is combined. 

I poured it into jars because it looks pretty.  I didn’t attempt to seal them or anything, I just put lids on them and put them in the fridge.

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So that’s the recipe as written.  What seems more interesting is all the things you could do with the basic recipe.  If you don’t like hazelnuts, it would be fantastic with peanuts or cashews.  You could make it darker with a greater percentage of dark chocolate, or lighter with less.  I think as long as you stick to 1 2/3 cups nuts and around 11 or 12 ounces of chocolate, it should work fine with any nut and any chocolate.  You could even do a white version with macadamia nuts and a white chocolate.  Then you could swirl it with a darker version…

The perfect recipes are the ones that give you a framework and then step back and give you space to make your own.

( see the recipe )