Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate

Brace yourselves, bunnies, and get your rotten tomatoes ready. Things are about to get whiny.

Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate

See, it has been cold in Los Angeles this past week. Seriously. The city is freaking out. And yes, I can hear you rolling your eyes from here, and yes, I am dodging those tomatoes you are so unkindly pitching my way as I type this.

Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate

I know that LA isn’t actually cold, comparatively, and most of the country is suffering through much lower temperatures right now. I mean, I have a cousin who lives in North Pole, Alaska, and her facebook statuses regularly give me frostbite just by reading them. (No one should ever be glad it’s “only” zero degrees.) Word on the street is that Nevada is freezing too, and they’re eating mad soup over there to counter it.

Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate

But. But! We spoiled Angelenos are unprepared for this nonsense. Our jackets and scarves are for looks only—they’re not meant to actually protect us from the weather. We’re soft. We’re climatically naïve. We’re not like the rest of you hardy folks, and we tremble at the thought of highs in the 50s. Don’t believe me? Jimmy Kimmel would not lie:

So with chilly temperatures and brisk winds outside, I have been hunkering down inside. Sweatshirts have been burrowed in. Slippers have been worn on errands in lieu of regular shoes. Space heaters have been spooned. I’m not proud, but desperate times, man.

I’ve also been drinking more hot chocolate and tea, but let’s be honest—it’s been about a 4:1 ratio of chocolate to tea around here. I was craving something a little different, so I came up with this recipe for Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate. It starts with freshly toasted hazelnuts that are steeped in milk before being strained out. The resulting hazelnut milk is so amazing, you will probably want to drink it on its own…but resist! Instead, combine it with cream and white chocolate, for a super rich and smooth treat with a great nutty flavor. It’s almost good enough to make me wish for permanently cold weather…almost.

Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate

So tell me: Is it cold where you are, too? How are you keeping warm? And can’t we all agree that 50*F is, like, legitimately chilly?

Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate
yield: 2 servings
I’ve only made this recipe with white chocolate, but I suspect it would also work well with milk or semi-sweet chocolate, if you wanted to go for a Nutella-inspired flavor. If you’re using a darker chocolate, make sure to taste it before serving, since it may benefit from a little added sugar.

Print this Recipe!

1/2 cup skinned hazelnuts
1 vanilla bean (can substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups milk (any fat percentage)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz white chocolate (1/2 cup chopped)
pinch salt
Garnishes like whipped cream, chocolate, and toasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring after every 5 minutes to prevent burning. Toast them until they are brown and fragrant.

Cool them to room temperature, then put them in a food processor or blender. Pulse the nuts until they are in small pieces. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, and combine the chopped nuts, the scraped seeds, the pod, and the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Bring the milk to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and cover the pan with a lid.  Let the mixture sit and infuse for at least an hour. If you want to let it sit longer, refrigerate the pan until you’re ready to continue. The milk mixture can even sit overnight if desired.

Once it has infused, line a wire strainer with cheesecloth and pour the milk through, straining out the chopped nuts and vanilla bean. Gather the cheesecloth into a bag and squeeze the contents to get out all the excess milk. Combine the strained milk, cream, chopped white chocolate, and salt in a saucepan, and place it over medium-low heat.

Heat, whisking frequently, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Taste and add additional white chocolate or milk to taste. Garnish with whipped cream, melted chocolate, or additional chopped hazelnuts, as desired. Serve immediately. It might start to separate as it cools, with a layer of white chocolate on top, so if it has been standing, be sure to heat and whisk well before serving.

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12 Responses to Hazelnut White Hot Chocolate
  1. Calely says:

    I love anything white chocolate, so this looks great! I’m sorry it’s cold for you…but here in Colorado, it’s been hovering around 5 degrees (negatives in the night and early morning)…so don’t visit if you find 50 degrees cold! ;)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Holy smokes, I could never hang with 5 degrees! I am way too much of a wimp…I tip my hat to you! And thank you for not laughing at me too much.

  2. Danguole says:

    Thank you for giving me the recognition I’ve always wanted: for being the voice of the streets!

    I bet hot hazelnut milk is delicious! I want, with or without chocolate. (And I just reminded myself of “hot ham water”–maybe I should make that to deal with the cold? Or not?)

    • Elizabeth says:

      It’s watery…with a smack of ham!

      Will you PLEASE move to LA already so we can hang out all the time and quote tv shows to each other? Bonus: even the cold weather is pretty warm.

  3. zosia says:

    you don’t know what cold is until you’ve lived through a Canadian winter ;)

  4. reWOLLuzza says:

    Living in a city where public transport comes to a screeching halt once the first bus collides with a snowflake, I can totally relate.
    And (having 15 cm of freshly fallen snow to keep me from wanting to go out) I’ll try this delicious looking concotion as soon as I can get my hands on a few hazelnuts.

  5. kate says:

    Hi. I just found you through Dessert Stalking where I ogle sweets daily.
    I loves me some sugar, but damn girl! one serving of this yumminess is over 700 calories.
    Was it totally worth it, though?


    • Elizabeth says:

      Hey Kate! So nice to meet a fellow sugar lover. :)

      I have to say, you made me break one of my cardinal rules of dessert breaking, which is “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell When It Comes to Calories.” Seriously, it can be better not to know! Buuuut 700 calories was so horrifying I had to check for myself. Fortunately my number’s quite a bit different from yours. Here’s what I came up with, consulting the nutritional information from my packages:

      1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%): 150 calories
      1/2 cup cream: 400 calories
      3 oz white chocolate: 300 calories

      Total: 850 calories, divided by 2 servings = 425 calories

      I’m not sure how to account for the hazelnuts. They’re strained out of the mixture, and although I suppose they might contribute SOME calories, since you’re not consuming any of the actual nutmeat you can’t really factor 1/2 cup hazelnuts into the final calories count. Is this what helped boost your tally to 700?

      Obviously 425 is really high for a beverage anyhow, so this would definitely fall into the “special occasion” category. And honestly, I probably couldn’t drink a whole serving in one sitting (so rich!) but I could easily put back half a serving.

      One final thought to reduce the calorie count would be to replace the cream with fat-free half and half. You’d lose some of the richness, but I’m sure the flavor would still be spot-on.

      • kate says:

        Oh fiddlesticks! I totally added in the full amount of calories for the hazlenuts.
        Ok…I can totally live with 425!

        I hear you on the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. My sister and I declare that the worst day of our lives was the day See’s Candy started sullying their boxes with nutrition information inserts. Why, See’s, why???

        • Elizabeth says:

          Related story: I used to work at a bakery that started selling our cake slices at a local grocery store, so we had to get nutritional information. Now these slices were mega-huge anyhow, but when the nutritional info came back, we were scandalized. It was 1000-1400 calories/slice! [They changed the labels so that each slice was like 4 servings...tricky, tricky.] That was also around the time that I stopped nibbling so much at work!

  6. Johlene says:

    I haven´t seen these photos/recipe before but I love it!! I love the background (weathered wood)you used for these photos!! I´m totally in to food styling and love getting inspiration..
    Have a great weekend chica!! Xx

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