Listen, before you say “Oh, you had hazelnuts? Why didn’t you make Nutella?!” I’d like to point out that hazelnuts aren’t just for making Nutella, they are far more versatile than that. In fact, yesterday I made both bread and this nut butter with them, and I don’t miss the chocolate at all. They’ve also become much easier to find. I bought these at Trader Joe’s. In the PNW they’re available in the fall, though I recommend you buy them already shelled.
If you haven’t tried it before, nut butter is super easy to make and endlessly adaptable to your tastes and dietary needs. Here I added cinnamon for a little spice and just a tablespoon of maple syrup for a hint of sweetness. I think it would be great with honey too, and maybe a pinch of nutmeg or ginger. Whatever you decide, make it up, slather it on your favorite toast or muffin and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Makes approx 2 cups
Note: If you decide to use more maple syrup you may want to dial back the amount of oil you use as it will effect the consistency)
2 1/2 C shelled hazelnuts
4T sunflower oil (or other neutral oil such as Safflower) + more as needed
1T maple syrup
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F
1) Spread hazelnuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes. Nuts should be fragrant and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes then rub with a kitchen towel to help loosen skins
2) Remove as much of the skin as you can and put nuts in bowl of food processor. Grind until nuts are coarse crumbs (approx 3 minutes)
3) With processor on, add oil 1 T at a time until butter reaches desired consistency (it should be spreadable, but not too greasy. For me it was 4T +1t)
4) Add maple syrup and cinnamon, process until fully incorporated
5) Transfer to jar and store in fridge