Gianduja (Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread)

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Perhaps my favorite thing about this gianduja— besides it being a rustic, homemade Nutella — is discovering it hardens when drizzled over ice cream, just like Magic Shell. It is absolutely perfect over a few scoops of good vanilla ice cream.

I’m a sucker for the chocolate-hazelnut combination and it took hardly any time to make this at home. Toast hazelnuts. Process everything together.

Oh yeah! We bought a Cuisinart food processor. We’re in business now.

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This chocolate-hazelnut spread is different from that famous one though. The difference is texture. Nutella is smooth like Jif peanut butter, but this gianduja is more like natural peanut butter. It’s a bit more coarse, a characteristic given partly by the use of Demerara sugar.

It’s sweet and nutty. We used half bittersweet chocolate and half semisweet chocolate, though the recipe called for milk chocolate. Next time I’ll try all dark. Anyway, I hope you try out homemade Nutella soon. This week could use a pick-me-up.

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This tastes like Nutella but is different in texture. Think of it as the difference between the smooth peanut butter you grew up on and the now-popular natural peanut butter. The Demerara sugar adds texture and crunch, but I’m sure regular sugar would work, too.

1 cup (5 ounces) hazelnuts
8 ounces good-quality chocolate, we used half bittersweet and half semisweet
1/4 cup Demerara sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Heat oven to 350°F.

Spread hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and toast until fragrant and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them, though it’s not a huge deal if you don’t get them all.

While the nuts are still warm, combine with chocolate, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth, slowly adding oil.

Transfer chocolate-nut mixture to an airtight jar. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, about two days, though we spooned it over ice cream on day one. The spread will keep at room temperature for up to one month or for up to 3 months in the fridge. Microwave for 5 seconds to loosen up before serving.

Makes 1 1/2 cups. Recipe from La Cucina Italiana.

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