Mr. K and I have been trying to conceive for almost a year now. Anyone who has struggled with this knows that it can be an emotional rollercoaster. At our highest point, we were ecstatic with the news that I was officially pregnant (I miscarried six weeks later), and our lowest point was my 3-day hospitalization from a procedure that went horribly wrong. And there have been many numb days in between. When we first started trying, we were extremely confident that it wouldn’t take us long to become pregnant. I’m sure that’s what everyone thinks in the beginning. And although we remain cautiously optimistic (my husband likes using that phrase), we have had many discussions about what our lives might look like if we aren’t successful: We’ll travel more! We can move to another country! We’ll get a dog! Or a cat! And yet.
And yet I can’t help but wonder about everything we will miss out on if it turns out we can’t have kids. I know, I know, there are pros and cons to both lifestyles. And part of me is still scared to death to have children. I have read so many articles about parents being less happy than childless couples, marriages being strained due to kids, and financial stress due to all of the added expenses of raising a child. And yet. You can’t fight biology. I want to have a child. I was listening to a Slate podcast on parenting last week (iTunes started downloading this podcast onto my computer a few weeks ago and I didn’t question it) and one of the hosts was talking about her nightly routine. She stated that between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. it was complete chaos in her house. Dinner has to be made, homework has to be supervised, baths have to be given, stories have to be read, and then bedtime arrives. As stressful as all of it sounded, I found myself wanting that chaos in my life. I thought to myself, “What are all of us childless adults doing with our time?” It all just seemed so pointless without kids in the picture. Ok, maybe not pointless. But I definitely have days when it all feels meaningless. There’s just something about living for another human being that sounds so freeing. You can’t be stuck in your head all day long when you have a child to take care of. As Louis C.K. once said, “There’s no time for depression when you have kids.” Ok, there must be a little time.
Why have I never made homemade Nutella before? It’s sooooo easy, dear readers! I have loved Nutella ever since first discovering it while studying abroad in England. I think I’ve eaten my weight in banana-Nutella crepes over the years. But guess what? This version is EVEN BETTER. Without additives and chemicals masking the flavor, the milk chocolate and hazelnuts are much more intense. And it doesn’t have that waxy residue that the store-bought stuff has. With Valentine’s Day coming up, this would make a nice homemade gift. Your Valentine will be forever grateful.
Adapted from The Splendid Table
1 cup hazelnuts
12 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 12 minutes, until they’ve browned a little and the skins are blistered a little.
3. Wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible. Let cool completely.
4. Melt the chocolate in a saucepan over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
5. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible.
6. Add the melted chocolate and blend well.
7. Place into airtight container. Mixture will keep at room temperature for 2 weeks.