One of Italy's greatest inventions is gianduja (pronounced "john-doo-yah"), the beloved combination of chocolate and hazelnut that we know as Nutella. It might surprise you to learn that homemade Nutella offers more flavor without the additives and preservatives that are in the store-bought version. The pure, nutty flavors of the hazelnuts come through stronger. So does the intense taste of rich, dark chocolate. All the steps in the recipe below might seem daunting at first, but I promise, making chocolate-hazelnut spread at home is so darn easy. A food processor or Vitamix will do all the work—you just have to sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
But there is one problem: To make homemade Nutella, you have to toast and skin a ton of hazelnuts, and the traditional "roast-and-rub" method is anything but easy. Your fingers will turn red from aggressively rubbing hot nuts with a kitchen towel, and you run the risk of having a million tiny flakes of hazelnut skin spill onto your kitchen floor. Thanks to Alice Medrich, you no longer have to fear peeling hazelnuts. Watch this video of her showing Julia Child how to easily skin hazelnuts. First, you blanch the hazelnuts in a pot of boiling water and baking soda, which loosens the skins. Then run the nuts under cold water and rub them between your fingers, and the skins will slide right off.