Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homemade Nutella

Some things are best left to the cold and faceless experts. Such is the case with Nutella, my favorite before-bedtime spoonful of sweetness.

Ferrero, Nutella's multinational manufacturer, is a far more reliable source for the creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread than I will ever be.

Not that I haven't tried. In the past several weeks I have made two different batches of homemade Nutella, thank you very much. One was a disaster, the other an acceptable imitation but not in the slightest way memorable.

Coincidentally, and as fabulously idiotic luck would have it, I learned just last week that Saturday, February 5, will mark the fifth annual celebration of World Nutella Day. The event, concocted by a couple of Americans living in Italy, appears, as best I can tell, to call upon cooks around the globe to, well, cook something, anything using Nutella. If you are in Texas this weekend, do not be surprised if you are offered a Nutella enchilada, or perhaps a barbecued Nutella cheeseburger. If you are in Krakow, rest assured there is some person nearby who has just slaved over a batch of Nutella-filled pierogi. Traveling the South East Asian Peninsula, are you? Maybe you can score a few bites of banana-Nutella tempura.

I had never heard of World Nutella Day before either, but it seems that a lot of other people have. I checked over on Facebook where, as you might expect, the "event" has its own page; nearly 17,000 people "like" it. Over on Twitter, WND has more than 2,000 followers. (I am positively green with envy on both these points, I'll have you know. As of this writing, a mere 54 Facebook users "like" Mister Meatball and there are even fewer Twitter "followers" than that.)

So, what was the point of attempting a homemade version of the Italian condiment? I could say that the holidays, when the first batch was attempted, might have had something to do with my enthusiasm. But do you want to know the truth? It beats the absolute hell out of me what the point of all this was.

I like the stuff. I saw a recipe. It happens.

You start with lightly roasted and skinned hazelnuts.

Work them in the food processor until they liquify. (This will take some time, so be patient. I was not at all patient the first time and it proved my undoing.)

Vanilla, confectioner's sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and hazelnut oil are next up.

Mix them together and add to the liquified hazelnut mix.

Process about a minute more.

And there you go, homemade Nutella.

Well, sort of. The real Nutella is on the left, mine's on the right.

Not bad. In fact, pretty tasty, if coarser in texture than the real stuff, and not as sweet.

On the other hand, I still know how to get my hands on the real Nutella, the one that's made in Italy (it's produced all over the world, you know), and so I'm not sure what the point would be of going through all this again.

Maybe I'll just stick with meatballs.

Homemade Nutella
Recipe adapted from the Los Angeles Times

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
2 cups raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil, more as needed (I had hazelnut oil in the house, but if you don't, and don't want to buy it, I'd think canola oil might do.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken and become aromatic, about 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a damp towel and rub to remove the skins. (I went with already-skinned hazelnuts on my second try, and roasted them a little less time.)

In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter, scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes.

Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. The finished spread should have the consistency of creamy peanut butter; if it is too dry, process in a little extra hazelnut oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refrigerated. It will keep for at least a week.


S. said...

It looks awesome. The Missus swears that the only true Nutella is the one you pay the higher dollar for and is imported from Italy. Many times I have been the fool and brought home the wrong one. Now, I may just follow your lead and make some of my own :)

Anonymous said...

How, HOW do you get real Nutella in Maine?!?

Fred said...

If i was a cynical type, I'd say that Mister Meatball just conned us into buying the "high price spread". But since I am a trusting sort and one of our nation's leading ready, willing and able consumers I will instead implore that you share with us..."how to how to get my hands on the real Nutella, the one that's made in Italy".

PS: Did you ever make or eat a Nutella pizza? Dolce delizioso!

Mister Meatball said...

Fred: I buy my Nutella at D. Coluccio's in the Center of the Universe (that would be Brooklyn, the old one). The real stuff, from Italy, is in the glass jar, though you might also spy it causa all the non-English language and stuff on the label.

As for the pizza, no, I ain't had. My Nutella habit consists of a spoonful before bedtime w/ a couple swigs of milk (er, bourbon).

Anonymous: Nice name. Used to go out with a woman same name as that. Sorry, none of the Italian stuff round these parts, least not that I've seen. And I would have seen it.

S. Make it if you wanna, but I'd be happy to pick you up a jar when next I'm in NY.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I think yours turned out great! I would certainly eat it smeared on Italian bread toast! Yum, don't get me started!

Claudia said...

I kind of like that it is not as sweet - maybe the Italian version isn't as sweet? Impressed but even more so when I hear it goes well with bourbon.

Dante said...

I once had a friend who made tomato ketchup from scratch. He told me "it was ok but it took all day and cost $12 for a batch. I'll leave the ketchup making to Heinz"

Karen @ Mignardise said...

Great effort! I bet it was delicious, even if a bit grainy. You could make a lot of money bringing that real Italian Nutella back to Maine next time you go to NY. Put me on the list.

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Your version looks great! And I'll be liking you on FB and following on Twitter momentarily :) Thanks so much for spreading the word about World Nutella Day!

Thomas Henry Strenk said...

So how is "true" Nutella different from all those "untrue" versions. Has anyone done a comparison. I think you're all overawed by Italian on the label.

Mister Meatball said...

THS: Spoken like a man with but a single vowel to his (sur)name.

Jeannie said...

Impressive! I wouldn't waste so much hazel nuts if there is guarantee of a success though, they are pretty expensive around this part of the world.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My daughter loved Nutella and I had to buy a jar once a month. Since she flew the nest I haven't bought it since. I miss it and should remedy that.

Costco also sells you have this great whorehouse store up there in the wilds of Maine?

Mister Meatball said...

Pat: You're in Brooklyn. Get the real stuff from Italy at Coluccio's.

Anonymous said...

You can't make nut butters with the fine texture of Nutella in a food processor, no matter how long you process it, so don't feel bad! The secret to making silky smooth hazelnut butter is a very fine sieve that costs thousands of dollars. Here in Hazelnut Land (otherwise known as Oregon, where hazelnuts are the official 'State Nut' (really!), and we produce 99% of US commercially grown hazelnuts, there is but one company with that fine sieve equipment (it came from Italy) and they make incredible roasted hazelnut butter, which is the precursor to their hazelnut paste, which is sold to many chocolatiers that you'd recognize. Laura from OR (and friend of Tom S., who turned me onto Mister Meatball)

Mister Meatball said...

Laura: Welcome. And thanks for providing me an alibi. Phew!

Juliana said...

Wow, homemade nutella, must taste much better than the store bought...