Chocolate Nut Spread

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread2 Make this decadent chocolate nut spread in less than 15 minutes. Choose between hazelnut, almond and peanut butter for a special treat that will please everyone. It has half the sugar and twice the flavor of Nutella, so it’s a perfect indulgence.  Eat it by the spoonful or spread it on chocolate wafers, shortbread, or between layers of chocolate cake. To make truffles, refrigerate the mixture until firm, stirring occasionally to keep it evenly thickened. Don’t let it get rock solid or you’ll have trouble forming the balls. Use a tablespoon to scoop out small mounds, then roll them in cocoa powder or powdered sugar and store in the fridge. Leave at room temperature for an hour or two before serving. Anyone would love a box of these on Valentine’s Day.

This recipe uses creamy nut butter instead of toasting and grinding nuts. Most stores carry unsalted peanut butter, but look for roasted, unsalted almond and hazelnut butters in the larger health food stores. Don’t buy sweetened or stabilized nut butters: get the old-fashioned kind that you have to stir before using.

June 7, 2013:  Cocoa powder recently tested moderately high in FODMAPs at the Monash University lab, which means this recipe may no longer be considered suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. Here’s a link to what dietician Patsy Catsos has to say on the topic:  http://www.ibsfree.net/ibsfree_at_last/2013/06/cocoa-powder-moderately-high-in-fodmaps-what-about-chocolate.html

Note:  Research now says that almonds should be limited to about 10 nuts per serving, so only eat a small serving of this. Peanuts are the safest nut choice, as long as you aren’t allergic to them.

Chocolate Nut Spread

Makes about 2 1/4 cups (540 ml)

8 ounces (224 grams) dark chocolate (70 to 72 % cacao), broken in small pieces
4 tablespoons (60 ml) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons (45 ml) corn syrup (glucose syrup, i.e., Karo)
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (160 ml) creamy hazelnut, almond or peanut butter, roasted and unsalted
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt

Put the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a medium bowl. Microwave 2 minutes on 50% power. Whisk until the chocolate completely melts. Add the cream and salt, whisking until there are no traces of cream. The mixture will thicken and look shiny. Add the nut butter and continue whisking until it is completely mixed in. Transfer the mixture to a clean glass jar. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for a month or keep at room temperature for up to 4 days. If refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours to soften before serving. Or microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and microwave for another 15 seconds if needed. Watch closely, as it will melt if you aren’t careful. If that happens, refrigerate it until it’s solid.