We had the opportunity to travel on a family vacation to France back in 2009.…
As I established in my first post about Nutella (For the First Nutella post, click here), Nutella is classified as a food group at my house (along with bacon, but that’s another story). So on our first attempt at making homemade Nutella, it came out quite tasty, but had some texture issues.
After the first attempt, one of the readers suggested switching from the food processor to the Vitamix. Since I do have a Vitamix, thought I would try it. I will say, it did a much better job at turning the hazelnuts into a smoother paste, but I’m getting ahead of myself here….
I also read a hint about an easier way to skin the hazelnuts. The normal way is to roast them, then put them in a clean kitchen towel and rub until the skins come off. The problem for me is that not many came off. So, I read a method that Alice Medrich suggested (and if it’s something from Alice – it’s gonna work and it’s worth trying…). I started with my cup of hazelnuts and a pan of boiling water. I added 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the water and then the hazelnuts. Boil them for 3 minutes then move them to an ice bath. The skins should come off easily. As you can see from the pictures, by the time I put the nuts into the ice bath, some of the skins were already off. Those that remained, slid off easily by kind of pinching between two fingers. Now, I left the hazelnuts in the ice water while I was skinning, and they started to get kind of slick like boiled peanuts. Next time, I will try putting them in the ice bath to cool them, but then get them out of the water. Worked so well, it is certainly worth another try.
The next step was to roast the hazelnuts. They did take longer than normal since the nuts were all wet, but they toasted up nicely.
Now it was time for the other ingredients. For some reason, my chocolate drawer was out of cooking milk chocolate, so I had to use the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Baking Chips. I don’t normally like to use these in a melting recipe because of the coating on the chips, but it was all I had. Also, I changed the sugar from powdered sugar to turbinado sugar (You could use Demerara as well). Since it was “too chocolately” the last time, I decided to not use the cocoa powder. A little vanilla extract still seemed like a good idea. Finally, some neutral oil to give the Vitamix some “liquid” to work with.
I put all of the ingredients into the Vitamix and gave it a whirl. Couple of things happened – the nuts started grinding very well, but as it progresses, I had trouble getting and keeping a “vortex.” (That’s where the entire contents of the Vitamix are flowing up and back into the blades.) I could get it moving at a lower speed, but the full speed didn’t do what I needed it to do. The other advantage of the Vitamix is that it generates a good deal of heat when it is running, so melting the chocolate was not necessary.
The other challenge with the Vitamix was getting the Nutella out of the canister when it was done. Since it came out very thick, I had to scrape it out with a spatula. As you can see from the final picture, the texture is much smoother, and if I could have gotten a high speed vortex going, I think it would have been smoother still.
The verdict – the taste was better. It wasn’t at chocolatey and the texture was much smoother, but there was still just a bit of grit left.
So while this experiment moved us much closer, there is still a bit of work to do. Just means I’ll have to make it again……but I’ll have to get some more liquid in the mixture to get it as smooth as possible. (As a note, Lori told me that the salt was much better this time, at which point I realized that I forgot to put salt in….I had planned to, just forgot….yeah, it happens.)
1 Cup Hazelnuts (About 5 1/2 ounces or so)
8 ounces milk chocolate (Preferably not chips)
3 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
1/4 cup Canola Oil
Alice’s Hazelnut Skinning – bring a pot full of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and the hazelnuts. Let simmer for 3 minutes. Drain the water and move the hazelnuts to an ice bath. Rub the nuts together or between your fingers to remove the skins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the nuts on a baking sheet and cook for 13-16 minutes until the nuts begin to brown.
Place all of the ingredients in the Vitamix and turn on low. Turn up the dial to full to grind everything together. (Note: Next time, I may try just the nuts and oil to start, then add the other ingredients.) If you don’t have a Vitamix and your blender won’t handle this kind of job, use a food processor. You will need to scrape it down to get it as smooth as possible.