Delish Homemade Nutella

chocolate, homemade, dessert, spread

Hazelnut Spread

Spreadable chocolate, I’m in!

I made this “Better Than Nutella” chocolate hazelnut spread as holiday gifts this year and it was a hit. I used a recent Bon Appetit recipe and it didn’t disappoint. I bought some cute, clear Pyrex bowls with lids from Target and even created my own label via Online Label’s label designer for the top to personalize it.

Homemade Label

Homemade Label

Beware this is NOT low fat, but makes a great gift.

Makes About 4 Cups:


2 cups (heaping) hazelnuts, preferably skinned (about 10 ounces) — skinned really saves time!

1/4 cup sugar

1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet. Roast, shaking sheet once for even toasting, until deep brown, 13-15 minutes. Let cool completely. (If nuts have skins, rub them in a kitchen towel to remove.)

Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor until a fairly smooth, buttery paste forms, about 1 minute.

Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water; stir often until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over saucepan; add butter and whisk until completely incorporated. Whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.

Pour gianduja into glass jars, dividing equally. Let cool. (Gianduja will thicken and become soft and peanut butter-like as it cools.) Screw on lids. DO AHEAD Gianduja can be made up to 4 weeks ahead; keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours to soften. Can stand at room temperature up to 4 days.

DIY Beauty Treatments

I had to smile as I was cleaning a splattered cocoa concoction from my bathroom sink, floor and walls that I dutifully share with my three daughters (aka–“The Female Zone”). I realized that this is what you get when your mom’s a wanna-be alchemist. My girls have seen me creating food elixirs in my kitchen since they were little. It’s to be expected that they would want to try a little skin alchemy on their own; and you should too.

In the past, women would turn to their kitchen when they wanted to look their best. The kitchen offers an array of natural, inexpensive ingredients such as rolled oats, honey and milk that can revitalize skin and hair. There are some amazing, simple recipes that can be whipped up in minutes and have been used for centuries.

Here are some of my favorites:

Foaming Hot Chocolate Milk Bath (Cleopatra would have loved this one)

Soak in this delicious milk bath to soothe and soften your skin. Heat 3 tablespoons of dry bath mix with 1/2 cup water and two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and bring to a boil.  Add the hot mixture to bath water while the tub is filling.

  • 1 cup of instant dry milk
  • 1 cup unsweeted cocoa powder
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a covered jar. Keeps for up to 6 months.

Rejuvenating Hair Mask

Apply this mask to hair and cover with plastic wrap for 15 to 30 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water and shampoo as usual.

  • 1 banana
  • 3 tablespoons mayonaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Mash the banana in a small bowl until completely smooth.  Add mayonaise and oil and blend until creamy. Use immediately.

Moisturizing Avocado & Honey Face Pack

Apply this mixture to your face for 10 minutes.  Gently remove with cool water.

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 teaspoons plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey (I love the Trader Joe’s raw honey)

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mash into a paste using a fork.  Chill for 30 minutes and use immediately.

Clarifying Lemon Facial Toner

Smooth toner over face with a cotton ball to help even out skin tone.

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup witch hazel

Combine all ingredients in a clear bottle and seal.  Shake well before use.  Keeps for a month in the fridge.

Stock up on some glass canning jars and bottles to store your treatments and make sure you refrigerate your leftovers.  Bon Appetit! For the skin, of course.