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Gianduja — Homemade Nutella

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The first time I had Nutella was in a very unlikely place — on the island of Tahiti! Tahiti, being a French Protectorate, means that all kinds of delicious European treats are readily available in markets except on some of the smaller islands. Also, fresh baguettes are delivered several times a day to even lowly gas station convenience stores! It was crazy wonderful.

At any rate, I was staying at a pension where they provided natural alarm clocks for everyone in the form of a band of semi-wild chickens. Fortunately, they also served breakfast, which included the aforementioned baguettes along with a variety of jams and Nutella. Although the baguettes were no longer warm, they were very fresh and the Nutella was the perfect antidote for a night during which I was wakened several times by dueling roosters. Even better, I sat next to a small group of Italians who had grown up on Gianduja (same thing only homemade), and we visited cheerfully in a mixture of Italian (them) and Spanish (me). It was a watershed moment.

My absolute favorite way to use Gianduja is on a fresh croissant in the morning or butter cookies with afternoon tea or evening dessert. Make sure to warm the spread first, either in a microwave, or in a pan with hot water on low heat as it’s easier to spread and so much more delicious!

You can use skinned walnuts or almonds if you wish. I imagine you could even use pistachios. This is how the paste should look. Not as thick as peanut butter but well ground: When you add the chocolate, cream and butter, use a whisk. It will not be completely smooth as there are tiny bits of hazelnut. This spread is so much better than Nutella — richer, less sweet, and much more flavorful! An easy, delicious gift to yourself and others.

 

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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.
Patricia Rain
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