At the end of a long day or work week, we're all in need of a little escape. While we'd always like to be whisked away to Bermuda or a luxurious spa, a more ordinary night finds us at home, snuggled up with a good book. It's a simple pleasure, but one of the best, especially with a little treat to keep us company. Want to meet our latest favorite book-reading snack? Homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, with real dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts.
This spread is a simple treat, but amazingly good. In fact, we've switched our allegiance wholly from Nutella to this homemade goodness.
It's made with sweetened condensed milk, melted dark chocolate, and hazelnuts that have been skinned and toasted. Here's a hint on that, too: you can purchase blanched hazelnuts online (they are readily available from gourmet food stores and Amazon). This eliminates the pesky task of removing the skins yourself.
Enjoy this nutty chocolate spread on a crisp graham cracker, or a piece of good baguette. Oh, and a glass of milk, or a hot cup of coffee. Curl up by the window with a book and a plate of this and enjoy your break.
What's your latest favorite book to escape with on the weekend? Read anything especially good recently?
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Makes 2 cups
1 cup blanched hazelnuts
3 1/2 ounces 72% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons whole or 2% milk, plus more as needed
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the blanched hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, shaking halfway through to prevent burning, until oil is released and nuts are beginning to turn light golden, about 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the roasted nuts to the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to push the mixture down the sides of the bowl, until it reaches a smooth almost peanut butter-like consistency.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat (or in a microwave-proof bowl on medium power). Stir the condensed milk into the chocolate until combined.
Add the chocolate mixture, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt to the hazelnut butter in the food processor. Pulse until just combined. Add the milk through the feed tube to thin the spread. Taste and add additional milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, if a “runnier” spread is desired.
Transfer “spread” to sealable glass jars and store at room temperature for up to 4 days (although it will never last that long; it’s too delicious) or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. It is best enjoyed at room temperature, so remove from the refrigerator for a few hours before serving, if chilled.