Recently, after watching Food, Inc then Food Matters and Ingredients back to back, I’m overdosed with anti-food industry, anti-fast food etc protests. I want to make everything from scratch at home more than ever. Nutella could not be immune to this hate. It had to be homemade aswell.
After toasting and grinding the hazelnuts I was mesmerized with the smell. It was reminding me something but at first I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then with a flashback I remembered. I remembered how I loved hazelnut butter when I was a child. I could eat a jar in no time. But then suddenly it dissappeared from our home. Not only the spread but raw hazelnuts were no where to see aswell. Besides, there was a new rule in the house: “Children cannot drink tea”. I did not understand what was happening, and by time I forgot about these rules and hazelnut butter. Until last night. Last night when I was drooling over the grinded hazelnuts I understood what was all the fuss about. It was just after the Chernobyl disaster and there were rumors about contaminated hazelnuts and tea; so they were banned in our house. One similar argument made up by my mother was: “Little girls’ hair does not grow long”. I did not know better, I believed them, I did not question when they had my hair cut short- because it would not grow long anyway? (I was not very bright at that time, apparently.) At markets, parks, buses everywhere people have mistaken me for a boy. It was horrible, I was very mad at my hairs: why wouldn’t they grow long?? Besides, there were girls at my class with beautiful long hairs, why my stupid hairs were still short, weren’t we the same age?? Once I was at secondary school my mom let my hairs long-apparently I was old enough to keep them clean and neat. Gotta love naive children and overprotective parents, huh?
Yield: 2 jars (about 1 cup each)
1 2/3 cup (200g) hazelnuts
1 3/4 cup (400g) whole milk
7/8 cup (60g) powdered whole milk
3 tablespoons (40g) mild-flavored honey
pinch of salt
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces (140g) milk chocolate, chopped (use one that’s at least 30% cacao solids)
1. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast the nuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are browned.
2. While they are roasting, warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
3. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.
4. Once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel, then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove any loose skins. They don’t need to be pristine; just try to get as much off as possible.
5. In a food processor, grind the warm hazelnuts until they’re as fine as possible. You may not be able to get them completely smooth, depending on your food processor.
6. Add the melted chocolate and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, as necessary.
7. Once the mixture is smooth, add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well-combined.
8. (Optional) Strain the paste if you mind the little bits of nuts.
9. Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use.