Food + Wine

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

…you know, like that Nutella stuff everyone’s crazy about.  Yeah, that.

Man, what it must feel like to be Nutella, huh?  Blindly adored by all…

I’m not a crazy Nutella person, to be honest.  I mean. I get it, I understand it.  It’s chocolate for the people who don’t want to eat chocolate.  But it’s a dessert covered lie, that Nutella.

It’s just fudge in a jar, y’all.

It isn’t healthy.  It isn’t a ‘good for you, wholesome breakfast option’ for your kids…. It’s fudge.  In a jar.  Whether or not you wanna admit that you’re eating fudge from a spoon, that’s your choice.

I’ve bought Nutella before.  My kids know what it is.  They call it chocolate sauce.  We’ve given it to them with sliced apples as dessert before and I feel ok about that, because considering the many other ‘convenient’ dessert options out there, that’s a pretty good one.  But the other day I decided to make my own.  I’ve played around with it before but never documented what I did for a recipe share.  Until now.

And this is actually something I feel good about letting my kids have on a more regular basis than the store-bought kind.  It still has sugar- by way of agave- but everything in it is recognizable and it’s definitely lower in sugar and added fat than Nutella.  You can taste all the ingredients, and it’s very, very tasty.  Both my kiddos agree!  Licked fingers proved it.

It’s also dairy free and vegan if you dig that sorta thing.

Make it!





makes 3 cups

Begin by toasting your hazelnuts…

On a dry cookie sheet, place…

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts (300 grams/~3/4 lbs)

Place in a 400 degree oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until they smell toasty.

Now you want to remove as many of the skins as you can… I find the easiest way is to pour the toasted (warm) nuts in a metal bowl and place another similar sized metal bowl over top, creating somewhat of a dome (or at least having one bowl fit snugly up against the rim of the larger one, creating a good seal), then holding those bowls together tightly and shaking super hard.  (This works for removing the skins off a lot of garlic cloves too!)  Most of the skins will come off, some won’t.  That’s fine.  Place the hazelnuts, leaving the skins behind in the bowl, into the bowl of your food processor.

Turn it on and blend until the nuts become bread crumb consistency….then nut butter consistency.  You’ll need to stop and scrape the sides a couple times.  But it will happen, I promise.  It just takes time.

Then add in…

  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 1 TB (and possibly another TB if you feel necessary)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar (honey or even (real) maple syrup would work if you didn’t have agave… and I recommend starting with less than this and working up, maybe even adding more, as you may like things more/less sweet than I do)

Blend again until fully mixed.  It will go from dry and cakey to thick and oily. Be patient.

At that point, you’re ready for the liquid.  While you’re blending, add in…

  • roughly 1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)

You’re adding this in through the spout while you’re mixing and waiting until you get the right consistency – smooth and spreadable.  Use your judgement as to how much is enough and go slowly.

Taste to check your seasoning.  Add more agave if you think it needs it, more cocoa powder, etc… It’s yours!! Make it how YOU like it 😉

Store in an airtight container and unless you plan on using it all right then and there, I recommend keeping in the fridge.


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