Okay, okay, I know that I'm certainly not the first person to ever say how good Nutella is. Everyone gets it—Nutella is amazing. But I have to say that the sight of my Nutella jar this past year has actually made me a bit sad. Since I've cut back on refined sugar and dairy (and it's impossible to have just a little bit of it), Nutella is a big off-limits item for me, so I've been craving an alternative chocolate hazelnut spread that I can have. Here's what I've come up with:Homemade Nutella (no dairy or added sugar), makes 1 cup
2 cups raw hazelnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons date syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
8-10 drops of liquid stevia
First you'll want to turn your hazelnuts into hazelnut butter (of course if you can find it already made, you can skip this step and just use about a cup of hazelnut butter). Preheat your oven to 400°F and lay your hazelnuts out on a dry baking sheet. Roast hazelnuts in the oven for ten minutes (give them a stir halfway through). The skins will darken and split, and the exposed hazelnut should look lightly toasted and golden brown. You don't want to burn them, so keep an eye on them after eight minutes of roasting. These smell so good when you pull them out of the oven.
Allow the nuts to cool for five minutes, then transfer them to a thin dish/hand towel to remove the outer shell. It's possible that this process will stain the towel a bit, so don't use your favorite one. Wrap the warm hazelnuts in the middle of the towel, and while you hold the top closed with one hand, roll the nuts around on the countertop. The motion of the hazelnuts grinding against each other will cause the toasted skins to flake off easily, and you should be left with naked (gasp!) hazelnuts. There will be a few stubborn ones in the batch that refuse to lose their shells, so you can either peel those by hand, or just leave them in anyways (a little bit of shell won't affect the taste).Transfer your de-shelled hazelnuts to a food processor and blend together until they become smooth and creamy. Our food processor isn't anything fancy, and it only took about two minutes for the hazelnuts to turn into butter, but you may have to blend longer depending on your machine.Once your hazelnut butter is prepared, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. You can also experiment with other types of non-dairy milks (like coconut milk!). Keep your spread in an airtight container in the fridge. My favorite way to eat Nutella is on bread with strawberries sliced on top, so that's how I plan on using my mock Nutella as well. Or maybe I'll dip pretzels in it. Or maybe I'll dip everything in it. In addition to getting a delicious new option in my healthier snack arsenal, I also learned how to make hazelnut butter as well. And I bet there are plenty of ways I can use that new skill. Think you'll give this version of Nutella a try for yourself? xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photos: Laura Gummerman & Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited using Stella and Summer from A Beautiful Mess Actions.