Every now and then I get mad -- mad! -- that I didn't know what gianduja and Nutella were until I was in my 20s. Two decades wasted! But I've made up for lost time, I have. I may run out of jam or eggs or milk; I don't run out of Nutella (the brand name for the chocolate-hazelnut spread gianduja). But I've never made gianduja, and I thought making it would be a feather in my cap.
It's not nearly as complicated as I'd hoped (bragging rights deflated) -- all you do is grind toasted hazelnuts with sugar, whisk butter and cream into melted chocolate, and stir the ground nuts and some flaky salt into the chocolate. At this point, you are one step away from toast with gianduja, crêpes with gianduja, and gianduja icing. But I had a problem along the way: I couldn't find hazelnuts (what's up, Hamptons?!). So I put my chips on cashews. And invented a whole new, amazing treat: Cashewtella. Bragging rights restored.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Spread the cashews in a medium baking dish, and toast in the oven until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan every few minutes. Let cool completely.
In a blender or a food processor, combine the cashews and sugar and pulse to a powdery paste.
Heat an inch of water to a gentle simmer in the base of a double boiler. Set the top pan on the double boiler base, and add the chocolate to the top pan. When it's melted, turn off the heat. Whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time. Then beat in the cream. Remove the top pan from the base and set it on a counter. Stir in the cashew mixture and the salt. Divide among two 8-ounce jars. Let cool, then seal, and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.