Making the hazelnuts into a brittle means every bite has a subtle crunch, but even after grinding in a food processor, lots of big, chunky hazelnut bites will remain. Don't hesitate to substitute corn syrup for honey if that's what you have on hand, or do so for a vegan variation. And as long as we're talking substitutions, you can use toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil (or another oil of your choice) to make a nut-free version, should you suffer from a nut allergy.
This recipe keeps nicely at room temperature, but remember: no double dipping! If the Nutella is contaminated with a finger or used fork/knife/spoon, you'll introduce bacteria and may experience spoilage. No fun.
Note: All measurements are in weights, as volume measures can be very imprecise. I strongly recommend using a scale for all pastry projects. Serious Eats' recommended kitchen scale is the Oxo Good Grips Scale with Pull Out Display.
- Yield:about 1 pint
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 3.5 ounces water
- 7 ounces sugar
- 3 ounces honey or corn syrup
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use
- 5 ounces roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- 1/2 ounce cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces hazelnut oil, or more to taste
Make the hazelnut brittle:
Lightly grease a sheet pan with butter and set aside. Combine water, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and honey (or corn syrup) in a medium pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir gently with a heat resistant spatula to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and let it simmer, undisturbed.
Cook until the mixture takes on a rich, golden color. It will register about 300°F on a candy thermometer, if you want to be precise.
Now shut off the heat and stir in the toasted hazelnuts. Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out with your spatula. Let it cool completely.
While the brittle cools, melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a water bath. Stir until creamy, and set aside until cool, but pourable.
Make the chocolate hazelnut paste:
When the brittle has cooled completely, chop it roughly with a knife to make it a little more manageable for your food processor. Transfer the brittle to the bowl of the food processor.
Pulse the mixture several times until it is pulverized, then let the food processor run continuously until the brittle resembles a coarse meal.
Shut off the processor and remove the lid. Pour in all of the cooled chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt. Replace the lid and continue to run until the mixture is homogeneous, it will be a very thick paste. Then, with the mixer still running, slowly drizzle in the hazelnut oil.
Once all four ounces of hazelnut oil have been mixed in, take off the lid and evaluate the mixture. You can add more hazelnut oil, a tablespoonful at a time, until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
Store in a jar at room temperature.