So, admittedly, I’ve been on a bit of a healthy kick lately – toting around awful looking bottles of green juice, trying to eat more raw foods and roughage, and avoiding alcohol (gasp!). A bit of a spring cleanse, if you will. It’s been about two weeks (14 days, 11 hours and 33 minutes but who’s counting?), and I’m feeling pretty good. For some reason, over the last few days, my sweet tooth has gone a bit haywire, so I decided to make something I crave pretty often…nutella!
Now, nutella is one of those items with which I avoid eye contact in the grocery store. God forbid I bring a jar of it home, and it sits there longingly, just asking for me to take a spoon to it each time I go into the kitchen. I grew up eating it on special breakfast occasions, a lusciously chocolate-y and nutty filling for crèpes, a tradition I’ve carried on to adulthood. It’s popular for breakfast in Europe, where it’s touted as healthy! Can you actually believe it??
On closer inspection, it really isn’t that bad for you! Nuts, skim milk, a bit of cocoa powder – I thought a homemade version could only be better. I used a slightly healthier oil, hazelnut oil, in lieu of the palm oil used in the original version. I also used a local honey instead of sugar. I did add some real dark chocolate to mine, but I rationalized that 3.5 ounces spread out over a whole jar can’t be that bad for you, and isn’t dark chocolate an antioxidant anyway? This nutella is creamy, rich, and delicious and tastes just like the ingredients it’s made from (so use good ones!). Enjoy!
¾ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted*
¼ cup raw almonds, toasted*
2 tbsps hazelnut oil
1-3 tbsps local honey**
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup skim milk
3.5 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
To the bowl of a food processor, add the toasted hazelnuts and almonds and process until a fine crumb. Add the oil, honey, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and salt and process until a paste.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk and chocolate together until the chocolate is completely melted. Add to the food processor and process until the nutella’s texture is smooth and creamy. Cool and refrigerate. This can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
*I chopped up the hazelnuts here to increase their surface area, so they toast up quicker. You can easily toast the chopped hazelnuts and almonds together in a 350° F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
**The variation in the amount of honey really depends on 2 things: (1) what type of chocolate you are using and (2) your personal preference for how sweet you want this. I used a 70% dark chocolate and about 2 tablespoons, but if you are using a semisweet or even a milk chocolate, you may need less. This is something that you can add at the end to taste if you like.