A few weeks ago, my dentist rang. not to tell me I was overdue for a checkup, but to ask if I wanted any hazelnuts (we have a long history of trading produce—I try not to arrive at an appointment without some gift from the garden).
Turns out his hazelnut gift was 10 kilos of nuts! So I’ve been using hazel nuts in everything lately. And, of course, my thoughts turned to homemade Nutella.
There are plenty of recipes online. I chose this one and had a go. The only change I made was to use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.
The result was quite good, but not nutty enough for my taste—the chocolate to nut ratio was too high, swamping the flavour of the nuts. It also set too hard—probably because I used dark chocolate instead of the milk chocolate called for in the recipe.
Of course, that means I’ll just have to make it again … you know, to get it right. I have plenty of hazelnuts.
If at first you don’t succeed …
I like the idea of the now-ubiquitous protein balls/energy bites/bliss balls/whatever they’re called. I thought they’d be great for my athletic daughter, to keep her weight up.
But when I bought some, we found them more candy bar than energy boost—overly sweet and not particularly tasty, either.
So I was intrigued when I found the book, Energy Bites, by Christine Bailey in the cookbook section of my local library.
My excitement quickly turned to disappointment as I flicked past recipe after recipe that included such hard-to-find ingredients as xylitol, yacon syrup, matcha, colostrum powder, and lucuma powder. Surely, one should be able to concoct a not-too-sweet high-energy treat from ingredients I already had in the cupboard.
I pulled out my food processor and started dropping things in and buzzing them until I had a mixture of the right consistency and flavour.
- A cup of walnuts
- A handful of coconut
- Two spoonfuls of unsweetened cocoa
- A handful of dates
- A few spoonfuls of peanut butter
- A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
- Several gratings of coarse salt
The result was bitter with chocolate, rich with nuts, and just a little zingy with salt and cayenne. A definite improvement over the store bought ones, and easy to whip up with staples from my cupboard.