We used to love Nutella. So much so, that one Christmas, my brother-in-law bought us a humungous jar (3 kg, 6.6 lb) from Luxembourg. Let’s say that jar didn’t last very long!
When we relocated, we ceased to consume it. The Nutella available in the Americas contain modified palm oil, whereas the European variant contains vegetable oil. I would have liked to say that the European stuff is better, but sadly, it’s not. I was blissfully ignorant of the ingredients at the time. All variants of Nutella, regardless of which country it’s sold in, contains soy lecithin and artificial vanillin – two ingredients that I choose not to eat. Read about soy lecithin and vanillin in my nitty gritty pages.
We missed the chocolate and hazelnut goodness, so I decided to make my own “Nutella”. How hard can it be? It’s just chocolate and roasted hazelnuts and a few add-ins, right? The recipe I stumbled across was from Zen can cook – it’s wonderful. The beauty of making your own chocolate and hazelnut spread is that you can control what you put in it. I substituted the icing (powdered/confectioner’s) sugar for finely ground turbinado that I pounded in my pestle and mortar.
NOTE: The resulting spread tastes far better than Nutella, although a little grittier/coarser than the store-bought version, but we like it that way.
DARK CHOCOLATE & ROASTED HAZELNUT SPREAD
Makes around 400 g (1 ⅓ c)
Adapted from Zen can cook – Zenutella
- 270 g (2 c) hazelnuts, roasted, de-skinned* and cooled
- 33 g (⅓ c) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 80 g (⅔ c) icing (confectioners) sugar*
- 1 t vanilla extract
- Small pinch of salt
- 1-2 T peanut oil
* Most icing (confectioners) sugar contains corn flour (corn starch). If like me, you want to avoid such an ingredient, you can grind your own powdered sugar in a food processor. I’ve recently seen some specialized food markets selling icing (confectioners) sugar, that uses tapioca starch for its anti-clumping agent.
1. Pop the hazelnuts into a food processor. Blitz until they release their oil and a mass begins to clump together.
2. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, salt and oil. Process further until you get the consistency similar to nutella.
3. Place into a jar and store in the fridge. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
* To roast raw shelled hazelnuts – pop them on a tray in a single layer, and into an oven at 180°C/350°F stirring occasionally, for around 8-10 minutes. When they’re ready, there will be a delicious aroma emanating from your oven and their skins will be cracked. To de-skin, simply rub the cooled nuts between a tea-towel (kitchen towel). Allow the nuts to be fully cool before grinding them.