Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
Forget the cloyingly sweet proprietary spreads available in the shops – this version is intensely chocolatey and nutty, and free from nasty additives and unhealthy (and unsustainable) oils. Don’t try to make this with a new season’s nuts – it will work and taste better with last year’s harvest. If properly stored they will have dried out nicely, enabling the removal of the nuts’ dark brown skins. Don’t forget the salt here: it really accentuates the fragrant, toasty flavour of the hazelnuts.
- 250g shelled filberts or cobnuts
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more if required
- 25g good-quality cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons good-quality groundnut oil (or other flavourless oil), plus more if required
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Large pinch sea salt, plus more if required
- Spread the shelled hazelnuts on a baking sheet and put them into a cold oven. Set the temperature to 180˚C and a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, the nuts should be fragant and golden brown, with their papery skins beginning to fall away.
- Tip the hot hazelnuts into a clean tea towel and rub them between the folds of the cloth until the skins have flaked off, then leave the nuts to cool. Discard the skins. (If one or two nuts stubbornly retain their skins, don’t worry.)
- Put the skinned nuts into the bowl of a food processor or the goblet of a blender. Pulse to roughly chop them, then, once they’re evenly broken down, begin to process steadily for about 5 minutes, gradually increasing the speed, until smooth and amalgamated into a mass of nut butter.
- Add the maple syrup, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla extract and salt. Blend for another minute or so, until evenly incorporated. You may need to add a little more oil to get a spreadable consistency. Taste the mixture and add more maple syrup or salt to taste, and blend again.
- Transfer to sterilised jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to three weeks.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK