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.
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!