When you are in love… homemade Nutella and diverse Brioche

When you are in love, well you are in love! This sentence made me smile. You can certainly try and distract yourself by doing something else, preferably exciting like – baking, cooking, reading, singing, sewing, knitting, paragliding or dieting but at the end there is one thing you cannot stop doing and that is – thinking about the object of your love. So, I’ve been trying to ignore this object of my love for quite some time now. What is the reason for such a drastic measure, you might ask? Well, you see I actually don’t like Nutella – there I said it.

The reverse side of this story is that I fell in love with the idea of making a homemade Nutella as a revolt to the ones from the supermarket shelves. I liked the idea of mixing hazelnuts with some chocolate, milk etc. and that way providing the ultimate success. The ones I could buy in the stores, no matter how organic or super artisan they are – well I would just pass by those…

The second object of my love (I bet you didn’t see this coming) well, the second object of my devoted love is one and only – brioche. Even before I knew the name I was already in love. Growing up in former Yugoslavia, a communist country open to many western fashionable things, including delicacies, plus due to the Middle East’s strong influence, I always had the pleasure of being indulged with diverse and delicious food. So  brioche or a very similar version to it was always present, just under a different name. I won’t be stressing you with the Serbian name plus to be honest I can’t even recall any special one. It was always called simple – enriched bread (in translation) which is miles away from glamorous  – brioche, so lets stick to the famous cousin. Except I’d like to add one more thing, not in order to confuse you, but on the contrary, to make sense of it – Viennoiserie ! Another name for brioche, straight from French people, referring to any enriched bread from Vienna. Austrian food (due to Austro Hungarian Empire) had a big influence in the region in which I grew up so there you go – food travels and then stays and changes slightly and makes us want to experiment even more.

Now, to shorten a long story I had this secret plan to combine homemade Nutella with above mentioned brioche and see what would happen.

Done! The result? Shockingly good!

Home made Nutella

200 gr roasted hazelnuts

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 170C. Place hazelnuts in a baking tin, spreading evenly so you have only one layer of hazelnuts and roast for 10-12 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, place onto kitchen towel, roll around using your hands. That will remove most of the skin. In case you want to do a better job – sprinkle a tin layer of sea salt on your kitchen towel before adding the hazelnuts. The sharpness of the sea salt will help a lot with removing the skin. This is not necessary in this recipe as slight imperfections are permitted but I guess it’s good to know for the future.

Place “clean” hazelnuts in your blender and pulse for a few minutes, until you get a very creamy/buttery version of your roasted hazelnuts.

(Did you know that on average nuts are 60% fat? That is a lot but the good news is, it’s the good fats we are talking about here. They’re actually even better/healthier if not roasted but in this case we are creating a dessert and a little “cheating” is allowed).

Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, coconut oil and blend until all combined.

Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperature.

 

Brioche buns

450 gr flour 00 grade or strong plain flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons dry yeast

280 gr butter room temperature

4 large eggs

45 ml milk

Mix flour with sugar, salt, dry yeast and leave aside. In a different bowl mix the eggs with a fork and add to the flour mixture. Mix slightly with a wooden spatula, before adding butter to it. Work with your hands until you get nice and smooth dough. Just to warn you this dough is a very soft one. Handle carefully and add flour to your working surface if you have to you.

Leave in a clean bowl to rise for at least an hour. It should double in size before handling again.

Take out to the working bench and roll into a log 25 cm long. Divide equally into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place every ball into a muffin mould and leave to rise for another hour.

Brush with egg wash (mixture of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk) and bake for 25-30 minutes on 175C.

Leave to cool slightly before serving.

I’ve served these with a splash of raspberry jam and Nutella. It’s messy, sweet and sour and urges you to dig in – as any indulgence should be. The crunchy, buttery and slightly salty brioche with a touch of raspberry jam freshness and strong hazelnut/chocolate Nutella flavour combination – divine!

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