Homemade “Nutella” compares to store bought as a butterfly to a moth. As a Thoroughbred stallion to a mule. Dr. Pepper to Mister Pibb. Something amazing to something mediocre. You get it.
This recipe does make a lot, 5 cups, but I didn’t cut it in half because a) it stores quite well b) once you taste it, you’ll be glad you have five cups and c) you can easily halve the recipe if you feel the need.
7 ounces water
15 ounces sugar
6 ounces corn syrup or honey
3 ounces butter (you may omit the butter for vegan/lactose free)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, bean minced (directions below)
10 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and roughly chopped
8 ounces dark chocolate (preferably not from chips), melted & cooled
1 ounce cocoa powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 to 8 ounces hazelnut oil
Lightly grease a sheet pan with butter and set aside.
To prepare the vanilla bean, split it in half and scrape; add the bean paste into the sugar. Now, cut the bean halves in half, lengthwise. Now mince these four strips as finely as you can. Rub your vanilla coated fingers in the sugar to “clean” your fingertips without wasting the vanilla
Combine the water, sugar and vanilla bean paste, corn syrup, butter, and minced vanilla bean in a sauce pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir gently while heating to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and let it carry on, undisturbed.
Cook until the mixture has a pale golden color, about 300° on a candy thermometer. This temperature yields the most authentic “Nutella” flavor. If you’d like a more pronounced caramel flavor, let the mixture darken to a foxy amber. But, as I said, 300° is perfect.
Shut off the heat, add in the toasted hazelnuts and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan and spread it out with your spatula. Compared to the average batch of nut-brittle, there are a lot of nuts and not so much brittle. So the mixture will seem quite thick, but that is quite fine.
When the brittle has cooled completely, chop it roughly with a knife to make it a little more manageable for your food processor. Take care if you break it up with your hands. I’ve actually cut myself pretty badly before with a sharp piece of brittle. (Brutal brittle!)
Put about half the brittle in the food processor and begin pulsing to chop it into smaller bits. Add the rest of the brittle in, pulsing the blade all the while, and then just let the processor run until it begins to form a paste.
Shut off the processor, pour in all of the cooled chocolate, cocoa, and salt. Replace the lid and continue to run until the mixture is homogeneous. Then, with the mixer still running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Use the full 8 ounces if you would like a thinner texture, use less for a thicker, more traditional spread.
If you’re anything like me, you will immediately begin dipping any available food stuffs into the mixture, baguette being the first and best option. Bananas second. Followed by pretty much anything. Once you’ve had your fill, transfer the mixture to jars. You’ll have about 5 cups, depending on how hard you snacked first.
When it’s fresh off the food processor, the mixture will be disturbingly liquidy. But it will set up to smooth, creamy, Nutella-like texture as the chocolate cools. If your kitchen is quite cold, it will set up much faster. I made this at work where it is about 60° and it set up fast. Whenever I make it at home (a balmy 72°) it can take several hours.
Store at room temperature, for up to two weeks. Refrigerate or freeze indefinitely. Just take care not to microwave the mixture if you are thawing it out, the heat will cause the crystallized sugar to melt out, destroying the additively crunchy texture of the paste.
If you’re looking for clever ways to use up a good portion of your Nutella, try layering it with the vanilla wafers in banana pudding!
Pumpkin Seed Variation
Use toasted pumpkin seeds in place of hazelnuts and replace the hazelnut oil with pumpkin seed oil. Couldn’t be easier!
Recipe Credit – Brave Tart