Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dream Butter

In the summer of 2001 I participated in a study abroad program in Paris, France. The program included studies in French and art history, the later being my major. But what the program did not include was my education in the ways of French eating. Which, if you were not aware, includes lots of cheese, lots of bread, and apparently lots of Nutella. Which isn’t actually French but somehow I came to associate my summer abroad in France with copious amounts of Nutella spread generously on French baguette, or artistically swirled and folded into a street vendor crepe. I loved Nutella. Madly.

I still love Nutella and I have been known to take the entire jar, a knife, and a package of digestive biscuits to the couch. We all know what happens there. Eventually you have to put the lid back on and walk it back into the kitchen where you hide the jar deep in the pantry so that next time you open the door, Nutella is not to be seen or even thought of, for months. Sigh. 

Who doesn’t love a good Nutella fix? So when I started seeing recipes for homemade Nutella popping up here and there I filed it away in the back of my mind for a future weekend project. Then a friend of mine mentioned that she too wanted to try making Nutella from scratch so we planned a weekend to meet up and make it together. Unfortunately, my husband came down with a cold and we had to postpone our Nutella-making date for another time, since she would be bringing over her newborn bundle of love to hang out during the process. 

What can I say? I couldn’t resist. I was dying to try making it (read: EAT IT). I threw the pre-roasted and skinned hazelnuts into my food processor and pressed the on button. The recipe said to blend them until they became fine and powdery like a flour and then slowly add coconut oil. It was not specified as to how much oil to use so I started with two tablespoons. Magically the powdery mixture became hazelnut butter. It was amazing. I mean, it really looked like professionally made nut butter. The recipe then said to add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. 

Um... It. Was. Divine. I admit that I did not actually blend until it was smooth and creamy. Not like the store-bought Nutella anyway. I sort of liked it with a bit of texture and the coconut sugar kept it from tasting too terribly sweet. You could do some serious damage with a knife or spoon (or finger!) and a package of digestive biscuits. I'm thinking maybe even a baguette... I brought a spoonful to my husband to sample. Shortly afterward he was in the kitchen asking for more. Always a good sign. It was so simple to make, aside from the time-consuming task of removing the skins from the nuts, that I think I may try making my own homemade almond butter next. Perhaps it will be chocolate almond butter. I can’t see what harm adding a bit of chocolate could do. What do you think?

Meanwhile, I highly recommend testing this recipe. Not only do you get to control all of the ingredients that go into your Dream Butter, but if you find some cute little jars like the one I found, it makes an adorable little gift for that foodie friend. Heck, it makes a fun gift for any friend! I mean, just look how cute!

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