When we moved to Oregon almost 3 years ago I realized I was surrounded by orchards of hazelnuts. I decided I would make nutella for my kids for the holidays and so I did. The recipe called for refrigeration and the next year I called the Food Safety hotline at Oregon State University to find out if I could keep canned nutella in the cupboard. They took a few days and called me back with a simple answer: no. So I once again made nutella for the holidays but in small jars, promising to make more midway through the year. I didn’t.
The next year, last year, I had become a professional commerical food processor and still had no answer, but in January of this year at several trade shows I saw lots of nut butters and I spoke with the processors. I learned the “secret”.
By roasting the nuts until they are held above 185 degrees for 30 minutes, any bacteria of concern is killed. The nuts can then be ground and voila! your home processed hazelnut butter is shelf safe. Finding a European recipe for the chocolate version sealed the deal and then I faced a hurdle that was even harder. Finding the nuts at a discounted price proved to be difficult.
Here in Oregon most orchards have contracts to deliver their crop to the distributor and few producers hold out any for their own use or sale. I chatted with a few but was told it was not possible.
Then last week Graham and I headed over to the optician we have learned can do amazing things with difficult prescriptions and there, in the shop, were signs about hazelnuts for sale.
So we quickly got to work and prepared the nuts by soaking and then roasting and then we got to work grinding them.
Last week we were able to produced about a dozen jars of plain hazelnut butter we called Nutty Hazel’s Spread in time for the farmers’ market. We teased customers with the coming attraction of Filbert’s Chocolate Revenge and heard squeals of delight in anticipation.
So today we once again soaked and roasted and went through the grinding but this time we added creo’s 73% chocolate. Creo is a small producer of chocolate working closely with the farmers. They receive the beans, roast and then produce chocolate in Portland.
Adding a small amount of coconut oil to help the spreadability, we were able to jar up 2.5 dozen. Yeah!!!
Now, it is important to note that it does not taste like the commerical Nutella you may know and enjoy. Here is their label.Here is our label. You will notice the list of ingredients is considerably different.
I would hope it would taste different.