Hazelnuts and cocoa. I have to admit, the idea behind Nutella is pretty awesome. The actual product? Not so much... Yes, it taste good. No, it's not good for you. And despite their 'Fuel a day' slogan, I seriously doubt it will fuel anyone's day properly. Lets take a closer look at the ingredient list: Sugar, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk powder, whey powder, lecithin, vanillin. Definitely not off to a good start with sugar and modified palm oil as the first 2 (main) ingredients... I am not too impressed by the last 4 either, which doesn't leave us with much!
The solution? Make your own!
My version isn't as sweet as the original one and it actually taste like hazelnuts and cocoa (how about that, eh?). It spreads beautifully, happens to be vegan and should last a few weeks if stored in the fridge, although I doubt that will be an issue!
Lets go through some of the side ingredients quickly - they are all must have pantry items in my kitchen (Or you can just scroll down to get to the recipe...)
Coconut sugar is made from coconut sap. It is low glycemic (~35 GI), high in potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, B vitamins and 16 of 20 amino acids (including high levels of glutamine). It is minimally processed and has a bit of a caramel finish. When purchasing coconut sugar, make sure it is 100% coconut sugar, as some brands mix it with cane sugar.
Coconut oil is a must have for, well, anything. Use it for cooking, in smoothies, home made nut butters, baking, etc. Coconut oil got a bad rep years ago but the research done back then used hydrogenated coconut oil, not virgin coconut oil. A huge difference! It is very heat stable, it is high in lauric acid which increases HDL levels (the 'good' kind) and high in medium chain triglycerides (MCT's), which digest fast and get metabolized easily (without getting too technical, they do not require bile salts for digestion and go straight to the liver). There is a large body of research around MCT's and athletic performance, but that might be best left for a separate post. It is also said to help balance the thyroid and is great for personal care (moisturizers, soaps, etc). Purchase virgin, cold press 100% coconut oil and remember that a little bit goes a very long way!
Almond milk is dairy free and a good source of vitamin E, vitamin A and calcium. It replaces butter in baking very, very well as it actually has a similar texture and it is good in post exercise smoothies (~180mg sodium per serving, with slightly lower levels of potassium). Make sure you purchase unsweetened almond milk.
And now... On to the recipe!
Home made 'Nutella'
- 2 cups organic hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 flat tbsp coconut oil
- 50g dark (minimum 75%) chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for ~10 minutes, until fragrant
- Once the hazelnuts have cooled down a bit, take the shells off
- Place the hazelnuts, cocoa powder and coconut sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are the texture of flour
- Melt the coconut oil and chocolate together over a double broiler (low heat)
- Add almond milk, coconut oil and chocolate to the food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping the sides of the food processor a few times.
- Time will depend on how smooth you want this nut butter to be and on your food processor. Also, you can add more coconut oil or almond milk to get the texture you prefer
- Transfer to a jar and seal. Then eat by the spoon full :)