Dark & Bold Gianduja Spread (Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread)

Gianduja: a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Italy during the reign of Napoléon.

February thus far has brought a whirlwind of activity to the Dough House, beginning with preparations for a romantic Valentine’s Day wedding cake and ending this past weekend with its unveiling. As much as we love making silky smooth lemon curd and eating cake scraps, it is exciting to refocus on baking, well, whatever we feel like.

Keeping in tune with this months featured ingredients, I chose to begin a project that I had been itching to work on since the fall: homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread. The condiment itself is quite simple to put together, but once made it can be used in a myriad of other dessert recipes, some of which Taste of Home has already compiled for me. I was drawn to this version of “DIY Nutella” in particular because it includes honey as well as nuts and chocolate, all of which I would consider end-of-winter pantry staples.

I was after a deeper, darker chocolate experience than the grocery store variety has to offer, so I substituted the milk chocolate for dark chocolate and added an extra tablespoon of both honey and sugar. Instead of cows milk, I used sweet, creamy coconut milk for its richness and flavour. The result was a bold and earthy chocolate spread with subtle fruity hints, and plenty of toasted and ground hazelnuts visible throughout. My first instinct is to make gianduja-filled pastries, perhaps using the opportunity to try a new recipe, and also to use the spread within a sweet yeast bun.

So bust out the pastry blender, because we’re making dough and getting our gianduja on.

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