Make dinner tonight, inspired!

Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? This is your place for quick and healthy meal inspirations. Here you'll find recipes for seasonally focused dinners, desserts, breakfasts, and everything in between.

My cooking focuses on the freshest ingredients prepared in a simple and careful way, to highlight their uniqueness. My own diet is primarily vegetarian, but does include sustainable fish and seafood, and is gluten free.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes with you!

05 February 2010

Homemade Nutella

Happy World Nutella Day! Yes, apparently the famed chocolate- hazelnut spread even has its very own 'day'. I love the idea of Nutella but I avoid the actual product given that it's filled with hydrogenated oils. I also find it cloyingly sweet but I do enjoy the chocolate and hazelnut flavors together. The idea of spreading that chocolatey deliciousness on toast...well, that's an idea I can really get behind, especially for breakfast, or lunch, or dessert or... in my case tonight, dinner. And here you thought you were reading a healthy food blog!

Although I can hardly claim this spread is healthy, it is wholesome and made with very few and very simple ingredients. So, ever inspired by the trusty David Lebovitz, pastry chef extraordinaire, I set out to make my own 'Nutella Naturale'. Btw...he has a very interesting recipe on his blog that makes a spread out of cocoa nibs and hazelnut oil, which I intend to try soon.

There are a few decent non-hydrogenated versions out there in natural foods markets but I think this one is much yummier. I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Nutella Naturale:
Yields: @ 15 oz

10 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted ( I used 70% El Rey)
4.75 oz hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed
1 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toast the hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown and fragrant. If the skins are still on the nuts, just roll the warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of them. It's perfectly fine if a few skins remain. Set aside to cool.

2) Melt your chocolate, either in the microwave or over a water bath. If using the microwave, heat the chocolate in 20-30 second intervals, stirring after each cycle until melted. If using a water bath, place a small amount of water in a saucepan and heat to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and heat over the simmering water, stirring until melted.

3) In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a medium fine grind. Add in the melted chocolate and the 1 tsp salt. Pulse until combined. With the machine running, drizzle in the cooled, melted butter and process to emulsify. The mixture will be thick and shiny but still grainy from the nuts. 

4) Spread onto toasted bread (or whatever yummy morsels you fancy) and sprinkle a bit more sea salt over the top when serving.

*Store the spread in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will harden up when chilled but just reheat it in the microwave until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

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