Hazelnuts have a tried and true following for taking the lead role in the chocolate spread, Nutella. This long-standing love affair has lasted simply because they add a distinct, but subtle, flavour to the chocolate. Truly a match that is better together than apart.

There are many nutritional benefits packed into these small filberts. They are rich in dietary fibre, packed with folate, an excellent source of vitamin E, and contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids that can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. By making your own Nutella at home you can control the amount of sugar that is added, making this delicious spread, basically… a health food?

These delicious and super-easy waffles make a great base for your homemade Nutella. With the addition of ground hazelnuts to the batter, you can deepen the hazelnut flavour and pack in more health benefits.

Hazelnut Banana Waffles

Makes 6

½ cup (80 g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch sea salt
1 Tbs (15 g) icing sugar
1 Tbs (10 g) ground hazelnuts
6 grates whole nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup (125 mL) buttermilk
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs (30 g) butter, melted
½ small banana, peeled and mashed
1 egg white

1. Sift together all dry ingredients (except the ground hazelnuts) in a medium bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts and combine
2. Mash the half banana in a small bowl with a fork. Add the egg, buttermilk and melted butter
3. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks
4. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, and fold the egg white into the mixture
5. Follow the directions for your waffle pan to cook waffles, for around 5 minutes or until cooked through

Note: Remember to bring the waffle pan up to temperature in between each batch of waffles

Homemade Nutella

Makes 1½ cups

1½ cups (200 g) whole hazelnuts
¾ cup (100 g) icing sugar
3 Tbs (45 mL) canola oil
¼ cup (30 g) cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

1. Toast hazelnuts on a baking pan in a preheated 350º F oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t start to burn. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch
2. Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins. This should remove most of the skins
3. Place skinless hazelnuts in a food processor on high. Process the nuts until they form a smooth paste and the oils start to separate (about 5 minutes), scraping the bowl often
4. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and canola oil to the food processor and process until fully incorporated, scraping bowl of processor as needed (about 2 minutes)

Banana Fruit compote

Makes enough for 6

3 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced into rounds
2 Tbs (30 g) butter
2 Tbs (30 g) brown sugar
1½ tsp (8 mL) vanilla extract
1½ tsp (8 mL) bourbon

1. Add butter and sugar to a sauté pan over medium heat. As they melt, stir to combine
2. Add vanilla and bourbon, then add sliced bananas, and sauté until warmed through
Serve your warm waffles, topped with your homemade hazelnut spread, sautéed bananas and a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.
Using the same waffle recipe from above and switching out the mashed banana and adding ½ a medium orange – juice and zest – to the batter, you have a delicious orange waffle that will highlight the white chocolate hazelnut spread recipe below.

Homemade White Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Makes 1½ cups

1½ cups (200 g) whole hazelnuts
½ cup (70 g) icing sugar
2 Tbs (30 mL) canola oil

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 g) white chocolate

Follow directions for Homemade Nutella, and add the melted white chocolate at the end. Pulse to combine

Macerated Raspberries with Orange

Serves 6

250 g fresh raspberries
½ medium orange, zest and juice
1 Tbs icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Add all ingredients into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for about 1 hour
2. Serve your warm waffles, topped with white chocolate, homemade hazelnut spread, macerated berries and a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Note: Homemade Nutella has more texture than store bought, and will last around one month in the fridge. Waffles can be made ahead and frozen. Thaw and reheat in the waffle maker or the oven

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