Happy almost International Nutella Day! If I had my way, every day would be international Nutella day, not just February 5th. The perfect combination of creamy hazelnut butter and rich chocolate goes perfectly on everything from your whole wheat toast, to an afternoon pretzel snack. Even your morning cup of coffee! This year, to celebrate, I decided to try making my own chocolate-hazelnut butter and use it to make sweet little sandwich cookies.
To make the homemade Nutella, I used this recipe found on David Lebovitz site with just a few adjustments:
- His recipe calls for 1/3 cup of almonds, which I chose to substitute with more hazelnuts.
- The recipe calls for part milk chocolate and part dark chocolate, but I wanted to create a “dark chocolate” version of the traditional hazelnut spread, so I used all dark chocolate, but also only used 9.7 ounces of chocolate instead of 11 ounces.
- Because I used all unsweetened dark chocolate, I had to add a bit more sugar than his recipe called for. In the end I added the 3 tablespoons of honey and an additional 5 tablespoons of sugar.
- I don’t own a food processor, so I took a chance and used my mini 2-speed food chopper. And it WORKED! True, it took patience and standing there holding the button on the chopper down for nearly 20 minutes, but I did get a creamy nut butter. I was also able to blend the chocolate and hazelnut butter together in the mini-chopper, but had to transfer the mixture to a mixer to add the milk.
I was really pleased with the final result. It not quite as smooth store bought Nutella, but I loved the dark chocolate flavor. I was delicious on toasted banana bread, but I had to let it sit and melt a little because it was so thick. I fixed this problem by adding about a quarter cup of milk to the spread when I made the sandwich cookies.
For the cookie, I wanted something simple so it wouldn’t compete too much with my delicious homemade spread, so I chose the shortbread cookie recipe I have shared in the past, substituting the herbs for a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
1) Make short bread cookie dough using this recipe, substituting the herbs with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
2) After dough has chilled for 20 minutes, roll it out to about 1/8 an inch thickness. Here I used fondant cutters, which often come in nested sets, to cut the dough. The cookies are made with the largest size cutter, while the center holes were made with the smallest. Remember, if you are making different tops and bottoms you’ll need to do them in pairs, if you have too many tops or bottoms, you won’t be able to make all of your cookies.
4) Fit a large decorating tip, the size you would use for frosting cupcakes, to a disposable decorating bag and fill with Nutella (store bought or homemade).
5) Pipe Nutella on to the “wrong” side of your bottom cookie and carefully top with a second cookie.
6) Try not to eat them all at once.