February and chocolate go hand in hand. Valentine’s Day is the main chocolate February event, but did you know there is another holiday in February that centers around chocolate … and hazelnuts? It’s time to celebrate World Nutella Day on Feb. 5.
If you’ve had it once, you’re probably addicted. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out. I am talking about Nutella™, that creamy, hazelnut- and cocoa-flavored spread in a jar. Nutella makes a tasty partner in a multitude of recipes but is just as good straight-up, by the spoonful directly from the jar.
The product was developed in Italy following World War II. A high tax on cocoa led to its development. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker from Piedmont, Italy, created a sweet paste made with hazelnuts, sugar and just a bit of the expensive cocoa powder. That small-batch version of hazelnut cocoa paste, originally known as Giandujot paste, launched a company that is now worldwide.
I love making my chocolate ganache Nutella tart anytime of the year, but especially during February. For the chocolate, I use the best I can get. My favorite brands are Valrhona and Callebaut. And if you feel like adding a little libation to your tart, add a tablespoon or two of hazelnut liqueur to the filling.
- Prep Time30 min
- Cook Time10 min
- Perform Time6 hr
- Total Time6 hr 40 min
First, the INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut liqueur, optional
- 12 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
- ¼ cup Nutella
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur, optional
- ¾ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Next, the PROCESS
Line a tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper. Spray bottom and side with nonstick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In the bowl of a food processor, place graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and hazelnuts. Pulse to form fine crumbs. With the processor on, drizzle butter through the food tube along with liqueur, if using. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using your fingers, press crumbs firmly into the bottom and side of the pan. Refrigerate lined tart pan for 15 minutes. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
Place chopped chocolate and Nutella into a heat-proof mixing bowl. In a small pot, heat heavy cream until small bubbles appear on the side. Pour cream over the chocolate and Nutella. Let sit for 1 minute. Stir until completely smooth. If using, stir in the hazelnut liqueur.
Transfer chocolate mixture into the crust. Using an offset spatula, smooth top of the mixture. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Garnish with chopped hazelnuts.
Happy February, and enjoy!