Test Kitchen - Gianduia (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)

I love hazelnuts. Their flavor is unmatched by other nut flavors, and when combined with something like chocolate, it is sublime. I brought back quite a hefty bag of the nuts from our Portland trip and couldn't quite figure out what to make with it; thus, it became a Test Kitchen ingredient. I was tempted to eat the whole bag but I needed them to grow on their own. I loved the suggestions that came through of which one frequently suggested one was Nutella. While that was a great idea in its own right, my dear talented chocolatier friend (Amy Jo of Valenza Chocolatier) suggested gianduia which is pretty much the mother to Nutella. Challenge accepted! With some research through this nifty 35-part series and other parts of the internet, I came up with something that beats out the sugary, oily jar that is Nutella. It's purer, more nutty, more chocolatey, and made of ingredients we know and trust. Make yourself this recipe using only six ingredients and live happy with jars of decadent happiness.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 32 oz)

  • 12 oz organic hazelnuts, raw
  • 1/4 cup pure organic cane sugar
  • 1 lb 70% bittersweet chocolate, small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chunked at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt

Step 2: Making hazelnut paste
Opt for a 40/60 hazelnut to chocolate ratio to guarantee that the hazelnut will show through. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roast nuts on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes, shaking one for even toasting. Let them cool all the way through before processing together with sugar in a food processor until a paste forms.

Step 3: Prepping the chocolate
For an even melt, make sure that your chocolate is broken up into fairly equal sizes. I used the 70% chocolate from Callebaut for a rich taste. Simmer water in a saucepan and place a metal bowl over it but not submerged (see photo above). Add chocolate and stir until it has melted. Then remove the bowl from the saucepan and mix in butter thoroughly. Next, add in heavy whipping cream.

Step 4: Finishing
Next, whisk in kosher salt followed by hazelnut paste. Stir until fully incorporated. Pour into jars and let cool before closing the lids!

The spread will become thick like a nut butter or spread. Keep it in the refrigerator if you don't plan on eating it all within the week. It will last several months in the fridge.

The next Test Kitchen ingredient: poppy seeds
"Poppy seeds have primarily culinary uses, as intact seeds and as a paste of ground seeds. The seeds are used as a spice, a condiment, a decorative garnish, a thickener, and a main ingredient. They are used in many baked goods, main course dishes, and desserts." [Wikipedia]

They are used in so many things but what do you think we should do with poppy seeds? Let us know your thoughts for the next Test Kitchen ingredient!

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Photography by Duc Duong.