Every year around the holidays I start having a massive craving for Italian Gianduja Chocolate. If you have been to Italy and explored the chocolates there you know what I am talking about. They have tens if not hundreds of Varieties of Gianduja Chocolate Bars. Anything from a basic grocery chain brand ones to fancy truffle store ones. Most of them are FABULOUS. So I have tried to find at least one American made one in order to ease my cravings. And trust me I have tried every single diary free hazelnut chocolate on the American market which is not that many. The verdict. Nope. They are basically anywhere from 1 out of 10 rating all the way up to 3 out of 10. That is not good enough for me. So I even ordered some from Europe which took months to get delivered and yes, the wait was worth it but not a sustainable option.
That’s when I realized I gotta make my own. So I did! And….. the grand reveal:
If Italian chocolates are often 10 out of 10 my version was surprisingly 20 out of 10 haha. I did not expect it to be better than the REAL DEAL. I was simply hoping for just something decent but the final result was basically the best chocolate I have ever tasted.
It is extremely easy to make. You only need 3 ingredients. However, it is a bit tricky. On order to get it to taste right, I would recommend roasting your own hazelnuts rather than buying roasted hazelnuts. Better yet get them in season, in shell and roast them in the shells. You have to get them to a perfect golden roasted color. The freshness of the hazelnuts paired with them being right out of the oven freshly roasted makes all the difference. The golden color is key! If they are too pale it won’t taste anything like Italian chocolates. Raw is out of the question for this recipe.
I generally cook by feel. There are no measurements I follow but the ratio was about 1 to 1 Chocolate to nuts.
1 Block of pre-melted chocolate (choose a very smooth chocolate type)
As much ground perfectly golden hazelnuts as the melted chocolate can take. Around half a cup. Grind them in a high-speed blender or a food processor or a handheld nut grinder. I put the roasted nuts in the blender and half of them turned into a fine powder(almost butter) the rest remained in small chunks. The way chunky Peanut Butter is.
Set aside some Whole Hazelnuts.
A generous pinch or two of good quality Salt (the saltiness of the chocolate made is exquisite)
The fifth ingredient is totally optional. If you have coconut milk powder you can use a tablespoon of that to make it milkier. You don’t have to use that because the hazelnuts somehow make it taste like milk chocolate. I have the Laird Creamers for coffee and that’s what I used for one of my batches. It worked out great. If you really wanna go for it – I used the original flavor – this one. I am certain that regular coconut milk powder will be DA BOMB too.
Melt the chocolate in a container or you can line the container with parchment paper.
Once its melty add the ground hazelnuts with the salt added during grinding them (for even distribution).
Arrange hazelnuts on top.
Chill and Serve
Since Italian Gianduja is 30% hazelnut paste and this is 50% hazelnut paste it does taste very fudgy. It is a phenomenal recipe, either way, you look at it.
One very important thing to note is the type of chocolate you use. I used 2 varieties for 2 different batches and the final Gianduja tasted dramatically different from each other. I used Endangered species dark with raspberries (I simply had that at home) and Green and Blacks Velvet edition 75% with sea salt. The Green and Black one was just INSANE and by “insane” I mean finger-licking GOOD.
I topped the other batch with mixed nuts such as roasted pecans, almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts.
Not nearly as good as the hazelnut- hazelnut one but quite delicious as well.
Hide it from yourself and others because it will be gone within seconds of making it!