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Friday, June 13, 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread A.K.A "Nutella" (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

I was first introduced to Nutella my senior year of college a few years ago by my lovely roommate. We would make dinner together and have nights in enjoying wine and dessert. She actually used to melt chocolate and dip strawberries in it to make homemade chocolate-covered strawberries, which were uuuunreal, but because we were often impatient and lazy, she had this glorious idea to dip the strawberries in Nutella instead. 

I think the first time I tried it, I consumed half of the jar. I fell madly, deeply, dangerously in love (*Beyonce voice*), with Nutella. Well, now, I have fallen madly, deeply, dangerously in love with this healthier, vegan, soy-free, & refined sugar-free version of Nutella! It is to die for. I've gotten chocolate wasted too many times on this stuff! I even went so far as to stuff it in strawberries yesterday, as seen on my Instagram. The hazelnut chocolate spoke to me. It said, "stuff me in strawberries so I know it's real." What was I supposed to do?? Sigh. If that's what I have to do to prove my love, then that I will do!

Check out the original Nutella ingredient list (and remember, the ingredients are listed in order of most to least used):
sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals (whey), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor

I don't think much more needs to be said when you compare that ingredient list to the one below! No artificial flavors, animal products, soy, refined sugar, or highly processed cocoa powder here. And hazelnuts are first in my ingredient list, as they should be. Be on your way, Nutella. You are not welcome here anymore.

^ My favorite way to enjoy this spread other than eating it straight from the jar. :-P


The ingredient spotlight goes to...

Hazelnuts - If you need a reason to justify eating a chocolate hazelnut spread, the nutritional profile of hazelnuts will give you more than just one reason! They are packed with mono-unsaturated fatty acids which help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase good (HDL) cholesterol, fiber to help prevent/fight cancer and other diseases, folate, Vitamin E (100g serving of hazelnuts = 100% RDA) for healthy skin, protection against neurological diseases (Alzheimer's) and a strong immune system, B vitamins for energy, anxiety & depression, migraines, and to protect against memory loss. Hazelnuts are also rich in a host of minerals such as copper, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and selenium. [source]

Left: Before roasting. Right: After roasting. You can see they've darkened
& the skins have cracked.
Roasted hazelnuts in a damp tea towel ready to
wrap up & rub the skins off.
Left & Top Right: Roasted hazelnuts turned into hazelnut butter using a Vitamix.
Bottom Right: Final result after blending the rest of the ingredients together.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread ("Nutella")
YIELD: 2 1/4 cups
Adapted from this recipe

INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups raw hazelnuts
• 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs raw coconut nectar (preferably) or pure maple syrup
• 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
• 3 tsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Move the roasted hazelnuts to a damp tea towel or paper towel, and rub together for a few minutes to remove the skins. You won't get all of the skins off and that's okay.
2. In a high-powered blender (I use the Vitamix), blend the roasted hazelnuts for a few minutes on low speed until a smooth butter forms. Add in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. If you're using a food processor, it's going to take longer and it won't be as smooth but it'll still work. Allow for 15 minutes to make the hazelnut butter in a food processor. Patience, my friend, patience! It's worth it.
*Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1.5 weeks.

P.S. This would make an awesome gift to give during the holidays. ;-)

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there." Unknown

2 comments:

  1. Omg yum! We are too alike Claire! Back when I lived with a roommate my second year of college Nutella was our go-to snack too. Especially with strawberries or peanut butter. We once even put it on popcorn haha. So unhealthy so I'm so excited to try your wholesome version :) I'll be picking up hazelnuts today so I can make it this weekend! I'm hoping it'll blend up in my Ninja as well as it did in your Vitamix!

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    Replies
    1. Haha are you serious?! That's too funny! Ya, that's about as crazy as we got... nutella nights. Ha. :-P Oh my, Nutella on popcorn is right up my alley! I actually put it in a bowl of gluten-free brown rice crisps yesterday & wow... amazing. If anything is dull, just add "nutella" ... okay, maybe not anything. ;-)

      Crossing my fingers that it turns out well for you because I know hazelnuts aren't cheap. Please let me know how it goes! <3

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