Homemade Nutella

 Nuts are our ingredient of the season. You can visit our full archive of nut posts here.

When we picked nuts as our ingredient of the season, I was excited because I knew it would encourage me to try some new recipes, and this homemade nutella is the perfect example. We are a nutella-loving household, but I had never thought to make my own until now.

liveseasoned_spring2015_nutella2-1024x834 copyIf you aren’t familiar with Nutella, it’s a chocolate and hazelnut-based spread from Italy. The original recipes consisted of mostly chocolate and hazelnut, but unfortunately the main ingredients for the modern recipe are sugar and palm oil. And that’s why this is a treat worth making at home, because as you’ll see, this recipe has a solid base of hazelnuts and chocolate. Of course, it also means that making this batch will cost more than picking up a jar from your local market, particularly if you buy quality hazelnuts and choclate, but I think you’ll discover that it’s worth the price. Additionally, jars of homemade nutella make great gifts from the kitchen {in fact, if only I had thought about it sooner, this would have been the perfect treat for Easter baskets!}.

Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Toast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a 350F oven. Be sure to stir them every few minutes, and they will be done when they just start to brown and their skins blister (may take anywhere from 7-10 minutes).
  2. Once done, immediately pour the nuts onto a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins. It's ok if some skins remain stuck to the nuts. Let them cool completely before using.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (we like to use a pyrex measuring cup in a pot of simmering water).
  4. In a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts until they begin to form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla, and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the melted chocolate and blend well.
  5. If there are any chunks of hazelnuts, strain them out. The nutella will be thin and runny until it cools. It will keep on the counter for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long!).
http://liveseasoned.com/homemade-nutella/

It’s common to spread nutella on toast, but that doesn’t interest me. I prefer it with a banana or on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. How do you eat your nutella? Straight from the spoon?

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Special Birthday Brownies

Sorry this post is coming late in the day, but we’re sharing some incredible brownies, and as you’ll see these things can’t be rushed!

Calder’s birthday is on Saturday. As expected, he requested a chocolate cake, but since we have a camping trip planned, I thought a batch of brownies would be easier to pack. And what better for the birthday boy than the most indulgent brownies I know?

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We were introduced to these brownies by a family friend a few years ago, and it was one of those things that became an automatic request when we were planning any sort of celebration. When I asked my mom for the recipe this week, I learned that they are called Truffle Brownies, and it is the perfect description of what you’re making: a truffle disguised as a brownie. To get that truffle-like flavor and consistency, the recipe contains almost a cup of cream, 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, and well over a stick of butter! Indulgent, no? It’s definitely worth splurging on some quality chocolate for these.

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Brownie Ingredients

  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, 60% cacao recommended
  • 11 Tbsp butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

Brownie Prep

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare your pan. Line a 9×9 inch metal pan with tin foil, making sure that its edges overhang your pan so that they are easy to grab. Spray the foil with vegetable oil.
  • Place the 6 oz chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler on medium-high. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove the top pot and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk again.
  • Stir the flour into the mixture, followed by the walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the middle of your oven for about 26-28 minutes. The tester should have tender moist crumbs on it.
  • Cool completely and then frost with the ganache.

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Ganache Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, 60% cacao recommended

Ganache Prep

  • Bring the cream to a simmer, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes and then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour over the cooled brownies and let cool at room temperature for at least 4 hours or overnight.

After your ganache has cooled, it’s time to decorate! They were first served to us with crackled gold foil on the top ~ could there be a more perfect accent to such incredibly rich brownies? I didn’t have any gold leaf on hand, but I always have these paper thin star sprinkles at the ready (we use them as an accent on cappuccinos and hot chocolates – classy living over here!). If you like them, they’re easy to find in the baking aisle of any Joann’s Crafts, and they come in gold as well as heart shapes! I think they are just as much, if not more, fun than the gold leaf. The stars on the dark chocolate turn your brownies into a starry night, and would be perfect for so many occasions (slumber parties, evening summer bbqs, new year’s eve parties… and birthday camping!).

Once decorated, remove the brownies from the pan by pulling the foil. Place the whole slab on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. I err on the side of the one-bite-brownie because these are so rich.

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Hints

  • The smaller the walnut pieces, the easier it is to cut the brownies. Grinding was recommended to us, but I’m a fan of a fine-ish chop.
  • The cooler the brownies are, the easier they are to cut. Our house was a cool 60 degrees over night, so when I cut them in the morning I had no problems. When we make them at the beach on an 80 degree day, more brownies end up on the knife than in our mouths! Wiping your knife between cuts also helps.
  • If you don’t have a double boiler, the pot inside a pot method works perfectly well.
  • When decorating, try not to let your fingertips touch the ganache because you may end up with fingerprints and smudges on that perfectly smooth surface.

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