Mostest For The Hostess
By • Filed In: Party, Recipes

Oh wait, I guess it’s supposed to go “Hostess with the mostest.” Well, it could go either way this time of year. There are so many holiday parties to attend around the holidays and I always like to show up with at least a little something for the host of party. Flowers are always a good idea, but I like add my own touch and bring something a little more unique and useful. Here are a few ideas.

Some fun and festive cocktail napkins with a dip spreader make for a very cute and useful hostess gift. I usually buy a bunch of cute napkins on sale right after the holidays and save them for the next year’s round of parties. Same with the spreaders. You can get a four pack and then split em’ up to make four individual gifts. Bada-bing-bada-boom, an easy little something that the host can use beyond the night of the party.

Next up, a little homemade goodness to hand out as hostess gifts. My aunt actually gave me the idea. The same aunt that we made the Christmas candy with. She’s a regular Martha Stewart I tell ya. Anyway, I made homemade Nutella! I swear it is way easier than it sounds. It’s the perfect marriage of chocolate and hazelnut. And because hazelnut is an ingredient that you just don’t see that often, it feels a bit sophisticated and special.

You’ll need:

18 oz hazelnuts

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz each)

2 10 oz bags of dark chocolate chips – using good chocolate makes all the difference (I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli)

½ – 1 cup of milk

You will also need a food processor, and canning jars in the size of your choice (this recipe filled about eight 8oz jars).

First thing you need to do is dry roast the hazelnuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Make sure you stir them frequently so they don’t burn. You definitely don’t want burnt tasting nutella, yuck. Once they start to roast, the skins start to crackle and fall off. Roasting them could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Then cool them completely.

Once all the hazelnuts are cool, place them in the food processor and pulse away. It might take about 5 minutes, but you want it to be the consistency of peanut butter.

Next, melt the chocolate in a double broiler. I don’t have a true double broiler so I made a make-shift one by placing a big pot on the stove filled 3/4 of the way with water and placing a smaller bowl on top with the chocolate in it. The idea is that the steam from the hot/simmering water melts the chocolate (instead of direct heat so it doesn’t burn). Work with whatcha got, right! Add a pinch of salt to the chocolate once it is melted and mix well. Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat and poor into a mixing bowl. Then add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well.

Next, add your hazelnut butter to the chocolate mixture and mix well. It will be a fairly thick consistency. To get it to the consistency you want, add a little milk at a time and mix it well. It will seem like the milk is not going to mix into the nutella, but it eventually will. Just stir slowly. Personally I like my nutella thick enough so I can spread it on crackers and it wont drip, but not too thick. All that is left is to pour your nutella into jars and top it off with a pretty and festive ribbon. Or eat it, that’s what I did! It is absolutely delicious on crackers, toast, apples, or bananas. Basically anything you would put peanut butter or chocolate on, nutella tastes great with.

I’ve already handed a few out this season and the recipients are always impressed! Just saying that you made homemade nutella sounds way more difficult than it really its. The whole process took less than an hour for 8 jars!

About the Author

I am a 28 year old Chi-Town city gal living in a cozy condo with my boyfriend, Jeff. Monday through Friday I go by Miss Schmitt, as my main gig is working as a speech-language pathologist at a school in the burbs. Beyond my day job, I adore decorating, finding treasures at flea markets, seeking new adventures in the city, laughing, indulging in anything sweet, and spending time with friends and family (especially my lovely sis, Kali). Read along as I share my hopes, dreams, and outcomes (the good and the bad!).