Do you like Nutella? Wait, that was a dumb question. Of course you do. What I meant to say was, Do you like it, but kind of wish it had more hazelnut flavor like its European cousin? Do you look at your jar of Nutella and shake your fist in the air, cursing those heathens at Ferrero for not having a white chocolate version? Well curse no more, girl, because today is your day! Here is my tasty recipe for White Chocolate Nutella, which I came up with just the other night!
2 c roasted and skinned hazelnuts
2 c white chocolate chips (about 12 oz)
2 T neutral oil (any neutral oil would be fine, but hazelnut would be perfect!)
1-2 t vanilla*
1/4-1/2 t salt (1/2 is my recommended amount, but start with 1/4 if you doubt my tastes. Shame on you if you do, though.)
Putting it all together is super easy, but I'm going to skip the part where most food bloggers tell you to roast the hazelnuts at xxx degrees F/C for xx minutes, and here's why: In my experience, if you see a recipe for something like homemade white chocolate Nutella, you either say 'YES, YES, OH GOD YES!!' and run out to buy the ingredients (if you don't already have them), or you're like, 'Ooh, Nutella, yeah I'll have to get me some of that on the way home from work.' In other words, you're either the kind of person who really likes to play with their food and try anything homemade, or you think that Sandra Lee and her semi-homemade stuff is too much work. In *other* other words, if you don't already know how to roast a bunch of nuts, then you probably don't care anyway. The skinning part, however, is another matter. If you google how to peel hazelnuts, you'll find a few different ways, probably the most common being to roast them in the oven and then boil them for 3 minutes in water with a little baking soda. The other way is to wrap them in a towel while they're still warm from the oven and roll them around in it. (I've recently read that using a damp towel works better than a dry one.) That's the way I did it because I wanted the flavor of *roasted* hazelnuts, not boiled. I don't know for sure if boiling really affects the final flavor or not, but I suspect it probably does. When you roll the hazelnuts around in the towel, you definitely won't get all the skins off, but that's ok. Just tell your friends that it's vanilla bean flakes.
Take your roasted and skinned hazelnuts and blend them in the food processor. While that's going on, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. When the hazelnuts are pretty well blended and smooth, add in the rest of the ingredients and blend some more. That's pretty much it. You could additionally strain the mix through a fine mesh sieve for more smoothness and to get rid of some leftover skins, but I say why bother? I've read that hazelnut skins can add a bitter taste, but I've not found that to be the case at all.
After you first make it, your homemade Nutella will be nice and smooth and spreadable, but over time it may thicken up to almost a peanut butter-like consistency if your kitchen isn't super warm. If that's a problem, you can easily soften it back up by microwaving it for a few seconds.
As far as white chocolate goes, no need to use fancy-pants super expensive hipster stuff... y'know, the kind made from organic locally grown cocoa beans harvested by angels and then ejaculated by unicorns into pristine cocoa butter, etc. etc... The main thing you want to look for on the ingredient list, besides as few ingredients as possible and nothing artificial, is that cocoa butter and sugar are at or near the top of the list. I used my local grocery store's 'Private Selection' brand for mine and it came out great.
* As for the vanilla, when I was working on this recipe, I originally wrote down 1 t, but I could swear I actually used 2, so I'd start with 1 and see how it tastes and add more if you feel like it needs it.
(Hopefully a photo or two will be coming in the days ahead...)