Friday, December 28, 2012

Dark Hazelnut Butter

Here's another one of my edible gifts for the holidays which will be perfect for your sweet-toothed friends who may already be feeling guilty to take another bite of that decadent chocolate cake on their nth Christmas party this year. My hazelnut butter is a healthier and guilt-free alternative to nutella or gianduja. This version is sweetened with organic agave nectar; no dairy and no vegetable oil were added. All you need is patience, lots of it, to wait until the nuts releases its natural oil and transform into a smooth paste. I also added cocoa powder for that added chocolate kick. Then I added a pinch of salt and a hint of Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. Well,  hey! It's the holidays, might as well treat yourself, (and your lucky friends too!) to some luxury, right?

The idea was inspired by this post from The Healthy Foodie. The steps and preps are pretty much the same, but the recipe that I used is different and based on my own trial and error ;-)

Roasting Time: 12 minutes
Inactive Time: 10-15 minutes
Butter-making Time: 30-60 minutes (depending on your equipment and the level of smoothness of the butter)
Total Time: 52-87 minutes

Baking sheet
hand towel
food processor/ grinder/ blender (whichever works for you)

500 g  raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4-5 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
beans of 2-inch vanilla pods

1. Preheat oven to 160*C. Place the raw hazelnut on the baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes, turning halfway through the roasting time. Keep a close eye on it; you only want a light to medium roast.

2. Leave the roasted hazelnuts on the countertop to cool for a good 10 minutes or so. Slightly cooled hazelnuts will be easier to handle, the skin will become brittle and will slightly separate from the nuts. Do not cool completely though, it is best to grind it when it is still warm.

3. Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and give it a coulple of shimmy to peel off the skin.

4. Separate the nuts from the peel. Don't mind if some of the skin clings on the nuts as long as you remove most of them. Transfer into a food processor, grinder or blender, whatever you have on hand and whatever works for you.  I figure a food processor is best suited for the job but since I don't have one, the grinder performed well enough. I also don't know if a food processor would do the job faster, let me know once you tried it.

5. Grind the nuts until it forms a paste. This is where you'll need a lot of patience; the length of time will depend on how powerful your machine is and how smooth you want your butter to be. Do not be tempted to add oil, you don't need it; the nuts will release its natural oil. I found that grinding the nuts while it is still warm makes it easier to release its oil. Once you get the desired consistency, add the cocoa powder, agave nectar, salt and vanilla beans. Give it a whir for another 5 minutes until well combined. Transfer to jars and leave to cool completely before putting on the lid. You can also enjoy it straight away!

This is great for marshmallows and pretzels too!

 Put on some pretty ribbons and tags around the jars to gift to friends and loved ones.


May your Christmas be Merry and Sweet! xoxo

Edible Gifts Series
01 Dec 2012


  1. HI!

    love your recipe for the dark hazelnut butter.would sure try this.funny but i have a pretzel shot too in those very same ikea polka dot glass.small world we live in no?

    very pretty blog.and you are serving really beautiful photographs.

    will be back for more!

    see you around.

    1. thanks for the kind words. hope you'll like my recipe. come back soon! :-)