I really am having a ball making my own homemade sugar free liqueurs. I knew I was on to something after that first batch of homemade Kahlua turned out so well. I’ve been so gung-ho about the whole thing, I even went out and bought a whole slew of flask-sized bottles with swing-tops to store my collection. I envision giving them as gifts come the holidays, but that’s a long way away right now. For the time being, I am having fun making small batches at a time to see how they turn out. That’s all I really do…make them and then bottle them up. I don’t really drink them, I just admire them in their bottles because they look so nice. Ahem…and if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you!
Actually, the truth is that I’m really not quite sure what to do with this homemade Frangelico. I’ve never kept Frangelico around the house as it is, but I love hazelnuts and I really made it just to see if I could. Could I really get substantial hazelnut flavour by letting the chopped nuts “steep” with a bunch of vodka and a bit of brandy? I found a recipe on Serious Eats that seemed worth a try, but I admit I had my doubts. And I love hazelnuts enough to be leery of wasting a half pound…not to mention the vodka and the brandy!
I did adapt the recipe slightly, adding a touch more water and sweetener to make it less intensely alcoholic. And I didn’t bother with the vanilla bean, but went with a touch of hazelnut extract and some vanilla extract (you could easily do all vanilla). And then I waited, shaking my jar of nuts and alcohol every few days, wondering what would come of it. Do I even need to tell you that everything turned out beautifully? Can’t you tell from the lovely golden liquid in the photos? That colour is gorgeous and that’s all hazelnut…I didn’t add anything special to produce that. And the flavour is all hazelnutty goodness.
Now that I have it, I am really not sure what to do with it (except admire it in the bottle!). Most Frangelico-based drinks are overly sweet and sugar-y and not really my kind of thing. I do have one cocktail in mind to share with you, but that is waiting on my jar of homemade raspberry liqueur to finish aging. Oh yeah, I am into the berry liqueurs too and I will let you know how that turns out as soon as I can! In the meantime, I find that a little homemade hazelnut liqueur with a touch of cream makes a lovely aperitif! But if you have any other Frangelico cocktail suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them!
Homemade Hazelnut Liqueur – Sugar-Free
- Combine chopped hazelnuts, vodka and brandy in a quart jar and seal. Shake and let steep for 2 weeks, shaking every few days or so.
- In a small pot over medium heat, bring water, erythritol and xylitol to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, until sweeteners dissolve and mixture thickens slightly. Let cool.
- Add cooled water/sweetener mixture to the jar, along with hazelnut and vanilla extracts. Seal, shake and let steep for another week.
- Place a large sieve over a bowl and line with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Let mixture drain through sieve (you may need to change the coffee filters once or twice to get it all to drain properly).