I was a big fan of Nutella, as I imagine many of you were. As children, we spread this “delicious” paste on just about everything (bread, pancakes, buns…), our best friend for breakfasts and snacks. When we were older, we sometimes used to gulp down spoonfuls. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we now know that this spread is anything but good. So I haven’t bought it for years, but I have to admit that I miss it.
So, of course, when Christophe Michalak had fun reinventing the hazelnut spread, it could only be tempting. So, this is the recipe I have been making for several years, and what can I say? It is simply divine. With a good taste of hazelnut, chocolate, a little crunch of caramel and a touch of salt to enhance it all, it’s a delight.
As tomorrow is Candlemas, pancakes are obviously on the menu; pancakes are synonymous with spread. I was about to make the recipe when I realized that I didn’t have enough hazelnuts, a good big total of 120 g. So I was far from the 270 g of the recipe.
I had three options: run to the grocery store…umm, not too fun! Make a smaller quantity… dammit – no fun either! Or find a replacement. So it was with the last option I launched into my creative chef side. And the hazelnuts were combined with pecans. Look, the result is really good, just as good as with hazelnuts alone. I think I’ll have fun mixing the nuts into my spread from now on. It’s a bit different but still close to the original recipe. For the rest, I barely reduce the amount of sugar and oil, but otherwise, I follow the master’s instructions. For those who think this is a complicated mission, think again: it’s easy, I promise. All you need is a good food processor to blend, which is what takes the most time.
SPREAD, CHRISTOPHE MICHALAK STYLE
- 270 g of whole hazelnuts
- 120 g of sugar
- 150 g powdered sugar (I put 120 g)
- 150 g of milk chocolate (I use Valrhona Jivara 40%)
- 25 g of milk powder (sometimes I don't use it)
- 10 g of unsweetened cocoa
- 10 g neutral oil (e.g. grape seed) (I put 8 g)
- 3 g of salt
- Roast the hazelnuts in the oven. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F), and put the hazelnuts in the oven until they turn dark brown. I usually leave them in for about 15 minutes, but Michalak leaves them in even longer. Let them cool, then put them in a cloth and rub them inside, this will allow the skin to come off.
Preparation of the praline
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat to make a dry caramel. Add the sugar in 3 batches, letting it melt each time before adding another 1/3. Do not stir, just let it melt and give it a few swirls to help the sugar melt. Add about half the salt. Once you have a golden brown caramel, spread it on a silicone pan or parchment paper. The caramel will harden as it cools. Break it into small pieces.
- In the food processor, pour the caramel in fragments and 120 g of hazelnuts. Blend until soft, about 5 minutes (more if necessary). Set aside.
Preparation of the hazelnut paste
- Put the remaining hazelnuts and powdered sugar in the food processor. Blend until you get a firm paste.
Preparation of the spread
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add the melted chocolate to the hazelnut paste in a food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
Finalization of the spread
- Add the rest of the ingredients: praline, remaining salt, cocoa, oil and milk powder.
- Blend until you have a smooth paste. Depending on the power of your food processor, this can take between 3 and 5 minutes. I usually mix for 4 minutes. The longer you blend, the more liquid your dough will be. It's up to you to judge the consistency that suits you.
- Pour into a jar and store at room temperature.