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Spreading Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons with Ganache, Nutella or I’m a Hazelnut?

There have been a few disgruntled faces at Nutella recently. In the Autumn, Casino supermarkets in France brought out their own version of the famous hazelnut spread, called ‘Je suis noisette’. Casino claim their spread is better in that they don’t use palm oil and so it’s more ecologically friendly. What’s wrong with a bit of competition? Nutella naturally went nuts but the campaign is still going strong.

“I am hazelnut, the first spread without palm oil”, says the jar

If anyone knows me, however, I am not a Nutella fan. There, I’ve said it. My children are fans, though. They also tried this new spread, and bingo! They love it. Replacing the palm oil with sunflower oil, cocoa butter and coconut oil is surprisingly alike in both texture and flavour. They also love Nutella but recently they’ve been adding the Je suis noisette version to the shopping list, saying that it tastes more chocolatey. Well, then.

What would you prefer inside?

However, on a macaron note, I know many people who simply use Nutella spread as a quick macaron filling instead of making their own ganache. Believe me, it’s not the same.  No, no, no. I even tried using it as part of my macaron demonstration at the Aye Write Festival last year as I was cooking in a library from a suitcase since I had to adapt without a kitchen. But there’s no comparison. Using a spread is far less intense in chocolate and, above all, makes the overall macaron far too sweet. Somehow the chemistry doesn’t work with the spread and, unlike a chocolate ganache, it doesn’t permeate properly into the shell for that vital 24 hours thus making the macaron too dry and chewy.

For the sake of about 30 minutes, I do encourage you to make that extra effort and make your own chocolate-hazelnut filling. Just use ground hazelnuts in a classic dark chocolate ganache…

There, I’ve said it again. And for Nutella or other chocolate spread fans, if you spread the word, I think it’s time for me to run away. Yes, I think I’ll run to Scotland and hide in the hills with a box of these macarons.

On return, I promise a new wave of recipes… what would you like to see?