DECEMBER 31, 2012


It’s New Years Eve. A new year is about to begin and new beginnings are on the horizon. Two weeks ago, Eli started a new school and he is a completely new person. One of confidence, maturity, and someone I love spending time with. Middle school has empowered Isaac in more ways than one. He’s enjoying learning(and thriving), playing on all the team sports, and runs the neighbors dogs, 3 times per week, and he gets paid. Levi is growing and soaring, continuing to surprise me with the things he says, the way he thinks, and his humor. M is expanding his business. And my mantra “I AM” (rather than the opposite, “I am not”) has opened up so many new and wonderful business and personal opportunities. I am very excited about what is around the corner.

This past year we have changed the way we eat, thus the way I cook. Making homemade condiments is the norm (ketchup, teriyaki sauce, salad dressings, bbq sauce, evaporated milk, marinara, chutneys, marinades, taco seasoning, etc.) and it has become somewhat cathartic. Homemade nutella has been on my radar, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this cake that I got the motivation I needed.

Levi loves a piece of gluten free toast smeared with nutella. Now he can once again enjoy one of his favorite treats, using homemade nutella. Toasting and peeling the skin on 2 pounds of hazelnuts is no easy task. But it was worth it. Really. The taste of this hazelnut chocolate spread is good enough to eat right out of the jar. I admit guilt to doing just that.

The cake didn’t last very long. I may have had a very, very small taste. When only the crumbs were left under the cake dome, Eli said it was the best cake I have every made and can I make another one. I told him if he wanted to peel and chop another two pounds of hazelnuts I would be more than happy to bake a second cake. He has yet to reply.

One would think, a cake without any sort of sweetener would not be attractive to the palate. So wrong. This cake was perfectly tasty all on it’s own. But topped with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream (a bit on the melty side) and the term “cake and ice cream” has a whole new meaning.

Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate Cream

10 ounces |  282 grams | 2 1/4 cups raw hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
2 tablespoons honey
seeds from one vanilla bean
16 ounces | 452 grams | 3 cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Callebaut)
2 teaspoons espresso
4 ounces | 114 grams | 1/2 cup unsalted, organic butter
8 ounces | 273 ml | 1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or coconut oil)
3/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

• place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. bake for 12 minutes in a 350* oven. remove from the oven and immediately place on a thick kitchen towel. while hot, cover the nuts with the towel and rub, vigorously, between your hands. repeat this until all the skins are removed. set aside to cool.
• put chopped chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in a heat proof, glass bowl. set over a pan of simmering water (do not let bottom of the bowl touch the water) and let melt completely, about 10 minutes. stir and set aside to cool.
• in the work bowl of a Cuisinart fitted with the metal blade, coarsely chop the hazelnuts until it resembles coarse sand. add honey and vanilla beans, pulse to create a paste.
• add cream through the feeding tube and pulse to create a smooth paste. add salt.
• add melted chocolate mixture and pulse to combine.
• pour into glass containers and let cool completely before covering.
• can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.
yield: 2 cups
cake recipe can be found here.