28 August 2011

weddings and a little homemade nutella

so, as you may understand, my mind has been utterly in wedding mode lately. we've got just about 10 months to go, and I'm having so much fun dreaming up everything from all the big ideas to all the little details.
we mostly have the big stuff pinned down, as it seems you have to do these days. when we went down to NC (where the wedding will be) in july, the venue we wanted was already booked for all of the next april, may, & june, so july it will be. with the venue, band, and photographer booked, it's time for the fun stuff...

I am totally inspired by blogs (when am I ever not), and lately by pinterest (did I tell you I'm obsessed? a couple of my wedding boards here and here), and have gathered/ dreamed up some amazing ideas. one of these, which i'm not totally sure I can follow through on, even though i want to ever so badly, is to make an assortment of homemade goodies as the wedding favors.

so, i've done a few trial runs (made some homemade lemoncello, um... yum!) and now this homemade nutella. do you know what? it's not an exact replica of nutella, but i think i like it even better. it's a little richer and a little darker, maybe not quite as smooth, but totally amazingly delicious just the same.

i adapted this recipe from the LA Times, and mostly changed it up by adding a little more sugar and a pinch more salt. it was a fun process, to blend the hazelnuts until they were liquified, to add in the cocoa powder and cross your fingers, and then finally to taste it and think that yessss this is exactly what i was hoping for.

homemade nutella (hazelnut chocolate spread)
adapted from LA times, here
note: i used hazelnut oil here, but would think a neutral flavored vegetable oil would work too. i halved this recipe from the original, so feel free to double up, quadruple up or make as much as you need.

1 c raw hazelnuts
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp hazelnut oil, more as needed

Heat a saute pan over medium-low flame and spread hazelnuts out evenly in pan. Toast the hazelnuts, tossing occasionally, until they darken and become fragrant. If hazelnuts are still in their skins, transfer to a damp towel and rub to remove the skins. Let cool. 
In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts to a smooth butter (you will notice the oil come out), scraping the sides as needed so they process evenly, about 5 minutes.

Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. If the final product is too dry for your liking, process in a little extra hazelnut oil until the desired consistency is achieved. 
Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until needed. Allow the spread to come to room temperature before using, as it thickens considerably when refrigerated.

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