Creamy-smooth chocolate almond spread ready for toast, dolloping inside crêpes, or drizzling on pancakes or waffles.
Being hundreds of miles from roads or specialty stores and becoming more curious about how foods we take for granted are actually created drives me to experiment. Today’s challenge? Nutella.
In high school, a German friend introduced me to this chocolate-hazelnut spread that looks a little like peanut butter. But sister, it’s not peanut butter! Nutella is sweet, creamy, and chocolately and is great spread on fruits and breads and a whole lot of other things, or scooped out of the jar and eaten off the spoon!
I found a recipe, but of course I modified it to fit the items in my pantry. Substituting almonds for hazelnuts, and armed with my new stick blender (with nut chopping attachment), I set to work. As I processed the nuts from a grain to coarse flour and finally into a butter, I was amazed. It really worked! Mixed with chocolate, the result tasted like an almond version of Nutella. Fabulous! (Incidentally, the earliest versions of Nutella, created in Italy, used either almonds or hazelnuts.)
Now I’m ready to make those macarons I keep seeing. Or maybe I can convince Jack to make chocolate-almond crêpes for breakfast!
Chocolate Almond Spread
Yield: about 8 ounces (1 cup)
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Skin almonds by pouring boiling water over them in a bowl and letting them sit for 2 minutes. Drain off hot water and replace with cold water. Almond skins should pop off when you squeeze the individual almonds. I’ve read rubbing the almonds in a clean towel at this point will also remove skins, but that didn’t work for me.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place almonds in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast for 10 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
- Process nuts in a food processor, or use a stick blender. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary until the nuts have liquefied, about 5 minutes. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils from the nuts, and you will get almond butter!
- When the nuts have liquified, add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more fluid now than at room temperature.
- Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 to 2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-almond spread before using.
Adapted from http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/2005/12/nutella/