Saturday, February 23, 2013

Homemade Nutella for Paul

You know you are 9 months pregnant when...

1) You feel tired all the gosh darn time. You wake up in the morning and feel more exhausted than you did when you went to bed the night before only now a delightful cocktail of dizziness and disorientation has been thrown in for good measure. And no amount of coffee will make you snap out of it! When your toddler comes to you asking for something, what you hear is about as intelligible as the adult voices on an episode of The Charlie Brown Show ("Wah wah wa waaaa!"). And you probably took about 15 prenatal vitamins because you can't remember if you already took one and thus end up popping pill after pill just to make sure your nutritional bases are covered.

2) The only thing you can squeeze your massive frame into are yoga pants, your husbands sweaters, and the couple XXL t-shirts that you got for free at a charity bowling event. You are one stylish blimp.

3) Everything makes you cry. Everything. Including discovering that the grocery store is out of Pink Lady apples and you literally made the trip just to pick up a couple.

4) Everything also makes you mad. Your poor hubby stays at work a bit longer just to hide from your Jekyll and Hyde behavior. He's hoping it will all go away in a couple weeks.

5) You fall down the stairs because your bulging belly is so swollen that you are unable to see your feet and you totally miss one of the steps. And you can't get back up after the fall because your abs are pretty much nonexistent. This brings to mind the image of a pill bug that has flipped onto its back and now is helplessly/frantically moving all its legs in a sad attempt to flip upright once more. Husband comes to the rescue. Instead of thanking him, you chastise him for choosing to buy a house with a steep, slippery staircase (see #4 above).

6) You pull on your pants and tie your shoes while laying flat on your back. It's just more comfortable that way.

7) You get stopped by random women at the gym, the mall, or the grocery store who find it necessary to traumatize you with their horrific birth stories.

8) You are baking/cooking/nesting like there is no tomorrow. Every day brings a new opportunity to make another sweet indulgence, fold another tiny onesie, or bake some artisan bread because you have no idea what your schedule will be like once the new baby arrives!


Needless to say, I feel very, very sorry for my poor hubby and the emotional mess for a wife he has had to put up with as of late. He has been doing his best to not get upset when I lash out of him for no reason whatsoever and has been great with helping pull out the baby gear, make meal plans, and clean the house in preparation for the new baby.

To show my appreciation for all that he does, I decided to make a batch of Nutella for Paul. His favorite snack is Nutella straight from the jar, but we have not been buying it recently because it is so pricey. However, we can get hazelnuts in bulk from our grocery store for fairly cheap, so I decided to surprise him with a homemade batch. He likes homemade peanut butter so much better than the store-bought stuff, that I hoped homemade Nutella would be just as well received.

The recipe was a breeze to put together, mainly because the food processor does all the work. First, the nuts are roasted, allowed to cool, and then removed from their skins. Then, the nuts are ground in a food processor until their oils are released. Finally, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, oil, and a touch of salt are added to create a perfectly smooth, ethereal chocolate spread. Delicious.

Homemade Nutella
from The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook

2 cups (8 ounces) hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional - but amazing)
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts out on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until dark brown and fragrant, 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Keep a close eye on them, as they can go from perfect roasted to burnt in a short amount of time. Transfer the hazelnuts to a medium-sized bowl.

Once the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, place a second bowl upside-down on top of the bowl with the hazelnuts. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds to remove the skins of the hazelnuts. It may take a few times to get all of the skins off. Each time, remove the hazelnuts that have lost their skin to the bowl of a food processor, then continue shaking.

Process the hazelnuts in a food processor until their oil is released and they form a smooth, loose paste, 2-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl often.

Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, oil, vanilla extract and salt and process until fully incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes. The mixture will loosen and become glossy. It will continue to thicken as it rests. Transfer the spread to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 month.


  1. Hi Monica! That was hilarious, I have no idea what it is like to be pregnant and I salute all mothers and that includes you too! Hope all goes well when baby says hello :) I love Nutella and I thought it is expensive only where I live. It's a great idea to make it at home, but I'm just too lazy to do that.

    1. Thank you! Just a couple weeks left and she'll be here...I'm trying to distract myself in the meantime with random cooking projects. It's therapeutic!

  2. As a Nutella addict, I thank you immensely for this recipe! As does my daughter! Now to just get some hazelnuts....

    (ps: Ali sent me!)

    1. Hi Kim! Welcome to the blog (the blog that really wouldn't exist if it weren't for Ali!) Give her a big hug from me next time you see her - I miss her! If you make the Nutella, let me know what you think!