I have made several attempts over the years to come up with a chocolate spread that I feel is worthy of sharing. The flavor was always great, rather it was the texture I had issues with. No matter how much I ground the nuts (even in a Vita-mix) the results were on the grainy side.
The traditional Nutella, made in Italy, uses hazelnuts, which are both expensive (if you can find them) and time consuming to peel. It wasn’t until recently that I came up with the solution. Having made several dozen Italian Wedding Cookies for my son’s wedding and with a bit of almond meal leftover, I thought why not give it a try. I used a quality dark chocolate (72%) and extra-virgin olive oil, making this a healthy indulgence.
This chocolate spread is smooth and creamy, not-to-sweet with a rich decadent chocolate taste … and dare I say … better than Nutella!
Recently, I had last minute dinner guests and having been out of town, the pantry and frig were a bit sparse. I made a pot of lentil soup with bruschette (bread in the freezer) but no time to make dessert. I filled a platter with biscotti (I always have a supply on hand) and then I spotted the chocolate spread. If you take spoonfuls of the spread and roll into balls and then dust with cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar … Voila, you just made chocolate truffles! (Serve at room temperature).
This is so good that I plan on including it on my list of foodie gifts to give during the holidays.
- 1 3/4 cup almond meal
- 3 1/2 ounces dark-chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Delicate)
- 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (powdered)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of fine sea salt
- In a food processor, process the almond meal until it forms a paste. This takes several minutes so using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir until smooth.
- In a small bowl, combine the Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and then add to the processor with the paste. Continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible.
- Add the melted chocolate and pulse until well blended. Transfer to an airtight container.
- You now have a delicious thick chocolate spread that begs to be smeared on a grilled slice of rustic bread or toast.
If truth be told, I keep a tiny spoon next to the jar for those little indulgent moments when no one is looking.