Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (recipe via Christie Matheson at Leite’s Culinaria)
Makes one 18 oz jar
* 1 cup hazelnuts
* 12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
* 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil, such as canola
* 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
* 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. (I recommend using your toaster oven as it’s a waste of energy to heat your entire oven for this small amount of nuts.)
2. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them for about 12 minutes, checking once or twice and turning as needed, until they’ve browned a little and the skins are blistered. Wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously or put them in a yogurt container and shake hard for a few seconds to remove as much loose skin as possible. There will still be some skin clinging to the nuts when you’re finished – it’s okay. Let cool completely.
3. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over gently simmering water or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
4. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible (unless you prefer to have a chunkier spread). Add the melted chocolate and blend well. Store the spread in a glass jar with an airtight lid on the counter for up to two weeks.
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