Nutella Ice Cream (#50)

21 02 2013

There were signs:

  1. When I stopped at my sister’s last weekend, she was toasting hazelnuts.
  2. When we stopped at La Grotta del Formaggio on Commercial Drive later that afternoon to pick up a few cheeses, I came across bags and bags of hazelnuts.
  3. When we popped across the street to Triple A Market for some produce, there was a huge display of Nutella.

Week #50 clearly had to be Nutella Ice Cream.

For those unfamiliar with Nutella, it’s a creamy hazelnut-chocolate spread that was created by Pietro Ferrero in the 1940s in Italy.  But while Nutella is (still being) marketed as a nutritious food (50 hazelnuts in every jar!  Full of skim milk!), it’s actually not that great for you.  In fact, in 2012, the makers of Nutella had to pay $3 million in a class action lawsuit over false nutritional claims.  The top two ingredients in Nutella?  Sugar and oil.  Yikes.  This meant having to make my own healthier version of Nutella to use in my Nutella Ice Cream recipe.

It turns out that 50 hazelnuts is not all that many.  I figured to yield 1 cup of Nutella, I would need at least 1.5 cups of hazelnuts — which turned out to be 125 hazelnuts.

toasted hazelnuts

125 toasted hazelnuts went into my homemade version of Nutella.

I tipped the hazelnuts into my Vitamix along with some cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and a dash of cream and gave it all a whirl.  At first, the mixture was incredibly thick, not at all like store-bought Nutella.  But after adding a tablespoon of coconut oil and blending further, things started looking good!  I combined the Nutella with a slightly modified custard recipe… but not before sneaking a couple of spoonfuls into my mouth!

Final results?  Ultra rich and creamy.  Nutty.  Chocolately.  AMAZING.  I think I could have eaten the entire batch of ice cream in one sitting!  Garnish the ice cream with a few toasted, salted hazelnuts.  The salty-sweet contrast is absolutely delicious.

Nutella Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

For the Nutella (makes about 1 cup)

1 .5 cups shelled hazelnuts
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 c half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon coconut oil or canola oil (Note: If you are making Nutella to spread on toast, crepes, etc., you might want to add an extra spoonful or two of oil for a thinner, more spreadable consistency.)

For the Ice Cream

2 3/4 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
Pinch of sea salt

For the Nutella:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Toast hazelnuts for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant.  Place the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel.  Rub the hazelnuts in the tea towel to remove their papery skins.  Let cool.
  2. Tip the hazelnuts into a blender or food processor. Blend or process until they are well ground.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, cream, and oil.  Blend or process until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.  (If you don’t have a super powerful blender or food processor, you might want to add an extra tablespoon or two of oil to “loosen up” the mixture.)  Set aside.

For the Ice Cream:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream and the salt.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.
  5. Pour a third of the warm custard into your blender or food processor, which still contains the Nutella.  Blend on low speed to combine, scraping the sides as necessary.  Repeat twice with the remaining custard.  Pour the mixture into a container and chill in an ice bath until completely cool.
  6. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Nutella ice cream, hazelnut ice cream, hazelnut chocolate ice cream

The Official Taster says: “One of the smoothest ice creams you’ve ever made!”

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