I will never buy Nutella again…

…now that I know how easy, simple, and cheap it is to make at home.  Seriously, this stuff is so easy to make, there’s really no reason to actually buy a jar of it.

I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes, including one from the über-talented David Lebovitz.  I went through a lot of hazelnuts!  They were all good, but none actually made me think I was eating from a jar of Nutella.

Finally, I stumbled across a recipe from Megan Gordon at The Kitchn.  Looked simple enough, but unlike a lot of the recipes I tried it didn’t have any milk, or milk products in it.

Strange thing about this recipe is that it’s not only the simplest I’ve tried, but the best tasting.

Homemade Nutella

1 cup hazelnuts, peeled
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2-4 tbsp canola oil

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.  Peel the hazelnuts using the directions found here.
  • Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until brown and aromatic, for 12-18 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.
  • Place the hazelnuts in your food processor and blend continuously until they turn into a smooth butter, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 tbsp of the oil.  Blend until smooth, adding 1 tbsp of oil at a time, as needed, until it’s smooth, creamy, and of spreading consistency.

If stored in the refrigerator, the Nutella is good 2 weeks for a long time…I’ve had some in my fridge for 4+ months (I make big batches of it when I find hazelnuts on sale)

Notes:

  • Canola oil can go rancid, so while technically there is nothing in the Nutella that would go bad, why risk spending a night praying to the porcelain goddess?  Just keep it in the fridge, but don’t be afraid to take it on a picnic either.
  • Every time I’ve made this I’ve needed a different amount of oil.  I chalk it up to the differences in the amount of oil in the hazelnuts.

 

Modified source: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-nutella-166472

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Peeling hazelnuts is was pain in the butt.  Toast them in the oven, then while still hot, rub them with a kitchen towel.  Never got all of the skins off, and usually made a mess of the place.

No more!  There is an easier and foolproof way!

Enter Jamie Lothridge, of My Baking Addiction, who blogs about an easier, much easier, and more foolproof way to peel hazelnuts.  Originally thought of by Alice Medrich who showed Julie Child (yes, the Julie Child) how to easy it is to remove the skins off of hazelnuts.

When I first read this, I was like “No <bleeping> way!“, as I’ve gotten aggravated more than a couple of times trying to peel hazelnuts.  I actually ran to the store (well, ok, I drove), got some hazelnuts to give this a go.

Yeap, it’s as easy as it sounds, and works as reported!

Easy way to peel hazelnuts

2 cups boiling water
3 tbsp baking soda
1 cup hazelnuts

  1. In a medium saucepan with high sides, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to the water – the water will foam up.
  2. Add the nuts to the boiling water and boil for about 3 minutes. The water will turn black – don’t be alarmed. While the hazelnuts are boiling, prepare a medium bowl of ice cold water. After three minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove one test nut, placing the nut into the prepared bowl of ice water. Use your fingers to remove the skin, if the skin doesn’t come off easily, boil the nuts 1-2 minutes longer and try another test nut.
  3. When a test skin rubs right off, add the rest of the nuts to the ice water and peel them with ease.
  4. Place peeled nuts into a kitchen towel or paper towels and dry them thoroughly.
  5. If desired, toast the peeled and dried hazelnuts at 350° for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Source: http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/how-to-peel-skin-hazelnuts/

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Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

Peanut Butter Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cheesecake

So the Dulce de Leche I made recently kept taunting me every time I opened the refrigerator, just daring me to open a jar, get a spoon, and start eating.  My will power, surprisingly enough, held that idea in check, but I knew it was only a matter of time, so I figured I outta do something with Dulce de Leche.

There’s no shortage of yummy things to make with Dulce de Leche, but when the Kuhn Rikon Push Pan I’d ordered arrived, I knew it had to be a cheesecake.  The Kuhn Rikon Push Pan has a silicon ring at the base which claims to eliminate the need wrap the pan in double foil when using a water bath.

The Dulce de Leche isn’t a super strong flavor, so I jacked up the flavor with some peanut butter, and topped the cheesecake with a chocolate ganache, as peanut butter/Dulce de Leche and chocolate are like the yin and yang of sweets.  With the sweetness of the Dulce de Leche and the peanut butter, I was able to tune back the amount of sugar typically used in a cheesecake. [continued after the jump...]

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Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

Dulce de lech is basically caramelized sweetened condensed milk.  The concept of making Dulce de lech is pretty simple: cook sweetened condensed milk over low heat until it turns into caramel.

If you can use caramel in a recipe, you can easily substitute Dulce de lech in it’s place.

I originally made some a few years back by placing the unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in a pot, covering them with water, then baking at a low heat for a couple of hours.  Not very practical in the summer, and not super cost efficient either, not to mention the idea of cooking something in a can meant for storage.

Enter a post I stumbled across from fromscratchclub.com, where they use a Crockpot (slow cooker) to make the Dulce de lech.  No heating up the entire house in July, nor the energy bill from keeping the stove on for a couple of hours.

Downside: I made nine jars, which I’ll be using in *something* soon, as they keep taunting me every time I open the fridge.  I really want to show them, by getting a spoon and eating some right out of the jar, but I’ve kept my willpower in check…so far…

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche

4 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk – NOT evaporated milk!
6 (8oz/1cup) canning jars with lids and rings

  1. Wash jars and lids, and sanitize in dishwasher (this is what I used) or boiling water.
  2. After the jars dry, add the condensed milk to about ½ inch from the top rim.
  3. Wipe jar edges clean, and put lids and screw rings on. Tighten firmly, but not aggressively.
  4. Place jars as evenly spaced on the top of a kitchen towel, used as a buffer, on bottom of slow cooker. Fill pot with water to cover the tops of the jars by at least 1/2″.
  5. Cook on low heat for 7-9 hours, depending on how firm/thick you want it (I cooked it for 9 hours).  Cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.

Source: From Scratch Club

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King Arthur Flour's Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

King Arthur Flour’s Extra-tangy Sourdough Bread

If you read the post I did last year on sourdough bread, and thought it was good, wait until you try this sourdough recipe!

Think sourdough bread, but with an amp’d up sourdough taste.  If you can imagine the best sourdough bread you’ve ever had, this is better.  Yeah, it’s that good.

There’s no yeast added to the dough.  All of the leavening comes from within the sourdough starter.

Downside to no added yeast is that it takes a lot longer for the loaves to rise, but the taste is worth it.  Make sure you plan accordingly to allow for the extra long rising time (I usually make this on a weekend).

Extra-Tangy Sourdough Bread

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups to 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a smooth dough
5 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt

  • Combine the starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute.
  • Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: 2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Knead to form a smooth dough.
  • Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it’s relaxed, smoothed out, and risen. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy or it may just rise a bit. This can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. Understand this: sourdough bread (especially sourdough without added yeast) is as much art as science; everyone’s timetable will be different. So please allow yourself to go with the flow, and not treat this as an exact, to-the-minute process.
  • Gently divide the dough in half.
  • Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves, and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. Don’t worry if the loaves spread more than they rise; they’ll pick up once they hit the oven’s heat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
  • Make two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
  • Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Notes:

  • As you can see from the rising time it’ll be anywhere from 20-27 hours after you start making this before it will go into the oven.  Plan accordingly.

Source: King Arthur Flour

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Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Espresso Chocolate Oreo Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Yeah, there’s no typo in the title.  And yes, it tastes as good as the title would suggest!  Much easier to make than the long list of ingredients and steps would indicate.

I ran across this recipe about a year ago, and almost gave up on it after making it twice, and the recipe just not cutting it as far as I was concerned (my garbage disposal loved it though!).  Biggest hits of the original recipe were that the coffee flavor was overpowering, and with the firm cookie dough layer placed on top, the cheesecake ended up getting squished out the sides when I tried to cut it.  Disappointing to say the least, but I still thought it had potential, as it wasn’t just a bunch of ingredients thrown into a cheesecake, but ingredients that complimented and accentuated each other.

I didn’t find that the sour cream layer added much to the taste, and never quite firmed up, so I ditched it.  In addition to baking the crust before filling it, I reduced the amount of Oreos called for, as I was just lining the bottom of the springform pan.  The ganache layer was too thick and hard, so I cut back on the amount of ganache called for, and used more cream to make the layer less firm (and easier to cut).  I swapped out the cheesecake filling called for and substituted my well-proven recipe.

The biggest sticking point was the cookie dough layer.  Placed on top, it would squeeze out the cheesecake filling when cut.  I considered freezing the entire baked cheesecake, but thought that was extreme, as who really wants to each frozen cheesecake?  Finally, it occurred to me that if I placed the cookie dough layer between the baked crust/ganache and the cheesecake filling, then baked the cheesecake, the cookie dough layer would be insulated from being baked and still come out cookie dough and not a half baked cookie.  Bingo! [continued after the jump...]

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