My kids love Nutella. Unfortunately, the first ingredient is sugar. And it contains palm oil, which is something I'd rather stay away from. So I set out on a quest to find the perfect recipe so I could make it myself.
The first challenge was finding the hazelnuts (also called filberts). Because it was during the holidays, some stores had them. And they were expensive, even if they weren't already shelled.
My lovely sister-in-law ordered me some from her co-op. (One of the things I REALLY miss about living here... there aren't any!) This is what 25 lbs of hazelnuts look like:
So, $160+ later, I had the nuts. And lots of them.
I scoured the interned for recipes. They were very similar, but we tried about half a dozen of them. They all called for cocoa, which I determined was the problem. Real Nutella is definitely milk-chocolaty, and those recipes were good, but more for an adult palette, not an 8 year old's.
I had a lot of homemade nutella at this point. To use it up, I made several batches of "Nutella Crinkles" that everyone loved. (I left out the chopped nuts because we don't like crunchy cookies.)
The quest for the perfect Nutella recipe was interrupted when my food processor died. I debated whether to spend mucho bucks on a Kitchen Aid or a Cuisinart, but settled on a $40 Hamilton Beach that got good reviews (and I can replace three or four times for the cost of the others.) It's larger and more powerful than my other, so I'm happy with the decision.
When I decided to resume the recipe search, I decided to pull out all the stops. The best recipe we'd tried so far used a can of sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar, and it made the smoothest spread. But it used cocoa, so it wasn't quite like the real thing.
I decided to make up my own recipe, using milk chocolate chips instead of the cocoa. It was the unanimous winner, and our search for a Nutella recipe is over. Here it is:
Toast 7 ounces of hazelnuts (which does NOT make a dent in the 25lbs!)
Remove as much of the skins as possible. You won't get them all, but do what you can.
Run them through a food processor for about 5 minutes, until they get liquidy (like the consistency of peanut butter.)
In a double-broiler, melt a package of milk chocolate chips. Stir in a container of sweetened condensed milk.
Add in the hazelnut spread and mix well.
Put it through another spin in the food processor if you want to really smooth things out. Drizzle in some canola oil if it needs it.
Voila! Kid-approved Nutella.
Now, I will not pretend to be happy that this recipe contains not only a whole package of chips, but also a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. But it's not as sweet as the original, so I know it has to have less sugar (which is, after all, the very FIRST ingredient in Nutella).