First, I'd like to mention real quick that Jaime from A Sweet Road posted some nice words about me and a few other folks yesterday. Thank you, Jaime! You're very kind, and your blog makes me super hungry. :)
I recently posted about how I was testing two different recipes for nutella, and that I'd share the one I thought was best. Well, after careful consideration, I have the verdict:
David Lebovitz's recipe wins - hands down - in both texture and flavor. I couldn't stop "sampling" the stuff the whole time I was making it.
Just to let you know, this was the first recipe I tried. The main reason I chose it first was because it only had four ingredients, so I thought it would be easier. I wouldn't say it was a bad recipe (is chocolate spread ever bad?), but it didn't have the flavor I was looking for, and it turned into a really stiff, unspreadable paste from refrigeration.
Regarding David Lebovitz's recipe, I made two different batches - one with both the almonds and hazelnuts, and one with hazelnuts-only. Both were incredible, and the difference in taste is very slight. I also cracked all of my shells by hand because we had a huge bag of shelled hazelnuts. That was the hardest part, really. This recipe is pretty simple, especially if you already have shelled/skinned nuts at your disposal.
I actually started rubbing off the skins after the nuts were roasted as the recipe says, but I quickly realized that the task would be too tedious for me, so I processed the nuts - skins and all. Ultimately, I think this decision lent a bit of a gritty texture to the end result, but it's not very noticeable, and I quite like it that way. If you would prefer a totally smooth spread, however, feel free to skin your nuts.
1/3 cup whole almonds, raw
1 1/3 cup hazelnuts, raw
1 3/4 cup whole milk
7/8 cup powdered whole milk
3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (at least 30% cacao solids)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast for 10-15 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, remove the skins by wrapping them in a kitchen towel and rubbing the bundled nuts together (I skipped this step). Pour the nuts into a food processor, and process until they become a smooth paste, scraping down the sides when necessary. They'll be powdery at first, but just keep going. After 3 or 4 minutes in the food processor, they'll start to change consistency.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the milk, powdered milk, honey, and a pinch of salt. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl over simmering water), melt the chocolates until completely smooth. Add the melted chocolate to the nut paste in the food processor, and pulse until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl once or twice to make sure everything is incorporated. Add the milk mixture and pulse until everything is well combined.
Funnel the mixture into sterilized jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to one month. The spread will be quite loose while warm, but will stiffen into a nice, spreadable consistency after refrigeration. Eat on top of toast, scones, with fruit, or straight out of the jar.