When life gives you hazelnuts, what do you do? Make gianduja, of course! What is gianduja you ask? Ok students, this might be the best history lesson you’ve ever had.
Gianduja is a sweet hazelnut paste invented in Italy way back when Napoleon was still hanging around. This paste takes its name from a marionette character who represents a native northern Italian, the region where this paste was invented.
In Italy, as far as I’ve read, gianduja is extremely popular as a spread on toast. The most popular brand is Nutella.
I was extremely happy to get hazelnuts in order to try this recipe and I also see this as a training for all the possible gianduja tastings that I’ll be doing in Rome with my friends when I go later this summer.
This recipe is super easy, except all the cracking open of the nuts does hurt the fingers of the nutcracker (thanks, Mami for all your hard work!). Try it and you’ll fall in love and feel good about making something with less preservatives and additives than the stuff you can buy at the store.
As the Italians say… “buon appetito!”
2 cups raw hazelnuts
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400. Roast the hazelnuts for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Rub them together in a paper towel to rub the skins off. In a food processor, blend the nuts until they are creamy. Add the other ingredients and blend until it’s smooth.
Now you can use it to smear on toast, as a dip for strawberries or simply lick it off the spoon 😀