We were in need of some fun this week and decided to do a little experimenting in the kitchen. First, we picked a food to experiment with and decided on the delicious hazelnut. They are just so cute and provided the perfect range of culinary options for our plans this week. And boy did we learn more than we ever expected!
1. Hazelnuts make the BEST nut milk! So we've sworn to never make another nut milk again (okay maybe an exaggeration). We found hazelnut milk to have a rich and creamy texture and full flavor that can't be matched by other homemade nut milks. Don't believe us, try for yourself!
PREP TIME: 8-12 hour soaking time
TOTAL TIME: 8-12 hour soaking time + 10 minutes to blend and strain
Servings: 16 oz
1 cup raw hazelnuts
2 cups room temperature water
Place hazelnuts and water in a large glass bowl and either cover with a lid or plastic wrap then allow to sit out at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Once nuts are done soaking, drain off the soaking water. Add 2 cups of fresh room temperature water and soaked nuts to a high speed blender or food processor and blend on high for 2-3 minutes. Using a colander layered with a piece of cheese cloth or a nut milk bag, strain "milk" from the solids making sure to ring out as much liquid as possible into a pitcher or bowl. If using a small colander or small nut milk bag, this works best to do in a few batches. Store hazelnut milk in an air tight container in the fridge for 5-7 days.
2. Homemade "nutella" is tricky to make but worth the effort! Though we didn't exactly replicate the smooth texture and sweetness of store-bought nutella we still love the final outcome. We added almond to our recipe to help with texture and found the final product to be a delicious spread somewhere between traditional nutella and a chocolate nut butter. And with the added nuts this spread is higher in protein and overall nutrition, so a win there!
Chocolate Hazelnut-Almond Spread
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
Servings: ~12 oz
1 1/2 cups unsalted almonds, roasted
1 1/2 cups unsalted hazelnuts, roasted
2/3 cups dark chocolate chips
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
If you purchased raw nuts roast on a baking sheet in a single layer at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes watching closely so that the nuts don't burn. Allow to cool. In a high speed blender (ex: Vitamix or Blendtec), process almonds and hazelnuts on high until a semi-smooth nut butter is formed, about 3-5 minutes. In a microwave safe bowl or over a double boiler melt chocolate chips. If using a microwave, heat chocolate in 10 seconds increments stirring every 10 seconds to make sure you do not burn the chocolate. Pour melted chocolate, vanilla extract, and salt into the blender and continue to blend on high until a smooth spreadable nut butter is formed. Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 2 months.
3. These two recipes combined make an amazingly rich and delicious hot chocolate. The creamy hazelnut milk and chocolate hazelnut-almond spread are the perfect companions in this warm dessert beverage. We did find this hot chocolate best consumed in a small portion (4 ounces) as it is filling from the nut spread and hot off the stove for ideal texture. Definitely a pick me up treat as the days get darker and colder.
Almond Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
8 oz hazelnut milk
2 Tbsp chocolate hazelnut-almond spread
In a small pan over medium heat, mix together 8 oz of hazelnut milk and 2 Tbsp nut butter. Stir constantly until the nut butter has dissolved and milk is warm. Remove from the heat and pour into 2 glasses and sip away.
So we hope you've enjoyed learning more about hazelnuts with us this week and have some fun for yourself with these recipes. If you have kitchen experiments you'd like to share, please do! We love to hear from you.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.