Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nutella, refined sugar free. Enough said. :)

OK, I know I said I'd do vegetables for the next couple of posts, but I couldn't resist posting this chocolate recipe...it's that sweet tooth, I tell you! ;)
This chocolate hazelnut spread comes from Amy Green's cookbook at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. The first time I heard about Nutella, it was from a teenager friend who had just returned from a vacation trip in Australia.
She said that Nutella was everywhere there. Years later, I began to see it more here in my realm of the U.S., and fell in love with the combination of pretzels and nutella...salty with sweet: yum! Fortunately now, you can find gluten free pretzel sticks, if you are so inclined. And there are also so many other things you can use with this chocolate hazelnut spread...basic sweet crepes, with this wrapped in the middle, or dip banana halves in the chocolate and freeze. Another thing I like to do is put peanut butter (or other nut butter of choice) on a crepe, fold the crepe in fourths, and put the chocolate on top. Chocolate for breakfast? I think yes...the Hersey's chocolate factory has nothing on this!
(You can also use dairy free chocolate chips to make this dairy free. Please bear with my comments in parenthesis as we go...)

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread - From Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
1 c. raw hazelnuts (I've used macadamia nuts as well)
1/4 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
2 T. agave nectar (or honey)
1 T. canola oil
1/4 c. carob chips (or bittersweet)
1/2 to 3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (I ended up using all 3/4c.)
1/2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the hazelnuts on the pan and toast for 5 minutes. Rotate the tray 180 degrees and toast for 3-4 minutes longer, until fragrant. When the nuts are toasted, wrap them in a clean dish towel and roll back and forth on the countertop to remove the skins. If a handful of skins refuse to budge, that's OK.

Place the hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for about 3 minutes, until the nuts start to stick together and form a dry butter. Add the cocoa powder, agave, oil, vanilla, and salt. Pulse to combine, then process to mix well.

Put the carob chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 15 seconds. Stir the chips to melt. If needed, return the chips to the microwave for 10 seconds longer and stir again. Add to the nut mixture and process. With the food processor running, add 1/2 c. almond milk in a steady stream. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining almond milk 1 T. at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Process for 1 minute or so longer. The spread will thicken up once it's chilled. Refrigerate in a Mason jar for up to two weeks.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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