Totally Nutty Chocolate Spread

I bought some peanuts the other day, wanting to make some peanut butter. However, as I was rummaging through the cupboard, I saw that I had some hazelnuts and almonds as well. Then I stumbled upon some chocolate bars and my mind quickly turned to Nutella. Of course Nutella has no peanuts, but a similar nut spread, Gianduja spread does.

Peanut, almond and hazelnut praline.

The recipe for this “Totally Nutty Chocolate Spread” is more simple than either Nutella or the Gianduja referenced above. Nothing gets masked in this recipe. The flavors are bold and straightforward. If you like dark roasted coffee, you’re gonna like this intense nutty chocolate spread on a piece of toast with your Java in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 200 g dark chocolate (72%)
  • 150 g milk chocolate (35%)
  • 250 g toasted peanuts
  • 150 g toasted almonds
  • 100 g toasted hazelnuts
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 2 pinches of sea salt (to make flavors pop, especially if you reserve some of the praline)
  • OPTIONAL: The addition of vanilla and/or cinnamon would work well in this.

Method

1. Pour the sugar into a dry skillet (non-stick if possible) over medium high heat. Do not disturb the sugar until it has begun to melt and change to an amber color below the surface. You are making a dry caramel. Because you have so much sugar in the pan, you will now need to turn down the heat a bit and begin moving the pan and lightly stirring the caramelizing sugar so he it doesn’t burn on the bottom and the surface sugar can melt too. Ideally all the sugar would be melted and amber before adding the nuts. I didn’t wait that long as I was afraid of burning the sugar. RULE: Never leave caramelizing sugar unattended.

2. Add all of the nuts and work them down into the liquid sugar. This will cause the temperature of the sugar to drop and the mixture will show signs of hardening. Work quickly but with small movements to coat all of the nuts. Add a couple pinches of salt at this point. NOTE: You do not want the mixture to stiffen in the pan. You will need to keep it pliable by raising the heat slightly and/or moving the pan off and onto the heat as you stir.

3. When thoroughly combined move quickly to pour it onto a silicone mat or parchment paper and work with a spatula to flatten it out. The mixture with stiffen quickly. You’ll need to work quickly. Still, it doesn’t have to be perfect for our purposes here. Let the mixture cool. You have made praline.

4. Melt the chocolate. Your choice of methods – double boiler or microwave. I chose the microwave. Break the chocolate bars into chunks to facilitate easier, faster melting. Go for 30 second bursts, then stir. Repeat until completely melted.

5. Time for “Robocop” – my name for my amazing food processor (some days I think of it as Wolverine). Break up the praline into chucks that the food processor can handle and let it run until a moist, sandy mixture forms. Add all of the melted chocolate and repeat. This recipe makes a grainy paste, easy to spoon and spread but not fluid. You have made “Totally Nutty Chocolate Spread.”

Enjoy on toast or crackers with a cup of coffee or tea. As you can almost see in the photo below, I reached for an espresso. In its own way, this snack made for a double shot.

10 AM Booster shot: chocolate nut spread, a bite of praline, a dose of espresso.

Je vous souhaite une belle journée.

May you have a beautiful day.

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