I haven't posted a recipe since December! How did that happen? In honor of World Nutella Day (yes, weird, I didn't know it existed either but today's the day, apparently), I have a special offering for you. And because I like to be a rebel about these things, these are 'Nutella' Fudge Squares... without any Nutella in them! Yayy! (But I promise they taste just like Nutella.) Oh, and they happen to be paleo, if that matters to you. And, they will melt in your mouth in a rather delightful way. There.
When I lived in Mexico as an exchange student many moons ago in my university days, I had a housemate who was Nutella-obsessed. It was nearly impossible to find Nutella in our little village and every time someone would visit from back home, he would beg them to stuff a few jars of Nutella in their suitcase. I once saw him polish off a jar in 24 hours flat.
I've always loved Nutella (who doesn't) but I don't really buy or trust most processed foods, I'm more of a DIY-er. Which makes me either a reaaallly boring person, or an interesting person, depending on who you ask. At any rate, there are many, many wonderful recipes online for making your very own homemade Nutella. I recommend this one. But for this recipe, you don't even need to make Nutella, or rather, you sort of do, but the 'Nutella' mix that you make quickly hardens into solid silk that you can cut into squares. That's right, solid silk. (That's actually what these should be called).
These are dead easy to make (essentially 3 ingredients), no baking involved, and the advantage to not using Nutella is that you can control what goes in them. For instance, I like to use organic ingredients and limit the sugar content in my sweets. That said, don't be fooled, these squares should be eaten in moderation, they're pretty decadent! So here goes...
'NUTELLA' FUDGE SQUARES (WITH NO NUTELLA)
Makes 8 to 10 squares
2/3 cup hazelnut butter (you can find this at most health food stores, or you can make your own!)
1/4 cup coconut oil (for this recipe, I like to use the organic refined kind that doesn't have a coconutty taste, but this is a matter of personal taste, extra virgin works fine too)
6 oz. good quality dark chocolate
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
Chop the chocolate into pieces. In a double boiler (or a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering hot water), melt the chocolate completely and remove from heat. Place your jar of coconut oil in the hot water and once the coconut oil has liquified a bit, pour out 1/4 cup. Add that to the chocolate. Now add the hazelnut butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk well, until silky smooth. Taste the mixture and if you wish, add a little more salt, vanilla, or even honey or agave nectar if you think it needs a bit more sweetness.
Pour into an 8.5 x 4.5" loaf pan that is lined with parchment with an overhang so you can lift out the whole thing easily. Pour the chocolate into the pan and sprinkle on the chopped hazelnuts. Allow the whole thing to rest in a cool place for at least 3 hours, at room temperature should be fine. (Though if your kitchen is very warm, and the block doesn't harden enough to slice cleanly, you can place the pan in fridge for an 15 minutes before slicing). Remove the whole chocolate block once it has hardened and cut into squares. Enjoy!
PS: Store these in the fridge or a cold pantry. These will get all melty if they are kept in a warm place.