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A chocolate spread is a type of paste or spreadable substance, often with a consistency somewhat similar to peanut butter, made with or flavored like chocolate. This spread is often eaten on bread or toast, though it can be used on a number of different pastries including muffins and croissants. There are a number of companies that produce this type of spread, and it is often made with hazelnut for flavoring and texture. A chocolate spread can also be made by someone in his or her own home and can have either a smooth or slightly coarse texture.
Though there are different companies that produce chocolate spread for commercial purchase and consumption, these spreads are fairly similar. They are typically flavored with chocolate, either through melted chocolate or cocoa oil or butter, and have a fairly smooth consistency even at room temperature. A chocolate spread is often fairly thick, like a paste, but soft enough to easily spread onto bread or toast without ripping the bread, much like smooth peanut butter. It typically has a brown coloration, much like milk chocolate, and ingredients such as hazelnuts and milk are commonly added for flavor and texture.
Commercial chocolate spread has become increasingly available throughout the US and the rest of the world. This sort of spread is usually sold in glass jars or plastic tubs, and can be found in commercial grocery stores along with peanut butter. One of the most common uses for a chocolate spread is as a topping for bread or toast, much like butter, peanut butter, and jams or jellies. It can also be used as a topping for other sorts of pastries and similar dishes, such as muffins, biscuits, croissants, French toast, and pancakes.
Chocolate spread can be made by a person in a home kitchen fairly easily. Hazelnuts are typically used, though almonds can be used as well, and these are baked, and then rubbed in a towel to remove their skins. Chocolate, typically milk or semi-sweet chocolate, though a blend of both or dark chocolate can also be used, is melted in a double-boiler or in a microwave.
Milk — though sometimes powdered milk is used — is heated in a pan until just before boiling. The nuts are ground in a food processor, and the chocolate and milk are added to them, mixed together thoroughly, and then chilled before use. When made in this way, a chocolate spread typically has a coarse texture due to the ground nuts, though it can be strained before chilling for a smoother texture.