We all know it. The chocolate hazelnut spread that has become a cult favorite across the world. It’s sweet, creamy, contains antioxidant rich cocoa, and skin loving vitamin E from hazelnut. It’s been advertised as having “simple, quality ingredients” and a great way to start your day. It’s got to be healthy, right?
Hate to burst your chocolate-loving bubble, my friend, but Nutella is a glorified liquid candy bar. With 200 calories per 2 TBS serving, Nutella contains 21 grams of sugar and 11 grams of fat (3.5 grams of saturated fat). A WHOPPING 50% of it’s calories are from fat! No wonder it’s maker, Ferrero USA, was sued in 2012 for false advertising and settled for $3.05 million and had to remove it’s health and nutrition claims.
The first ingredient is sugar followed by vegetable oil (and we all know how I feel about oil). The rest is a measly 13% hazelnuts, 7.4% cocoa powder, non-fat milk solids (ew), soy lecithin, and vanilla “flavor.” None of this sounds like a good time to me. 21 grams of refined white sugar is equivalent to 5.25 teaspoons of sugar with 0 nutrients. Would you sit your child down to a snack of 5.25 teaspoons of sugar on a piece of “multigrain toast” as their ads say?
I wouldn’t either.
However, you can’t deny that this nutty, chocolatey spread is a crowd pleaser. I’m not going to lie. I had a slight love affair with Nutella in my teen years before I knew how to read labels. After all, we are hard-wired to love sweet and fatty things. So how is a healthy, plant-lovin’ mama supposed to treat her kids to the occasional chocolatey snack without loading them up with saturated fat, oil, and refined white sugar?
She makes it herself, of course.
This homemade version is pretty easy to blend together using raw hazelnuts as I did. However, if you want to make it even easier on yourself (and I totally recommend that you do!), you can skip roasting, peeling, and processing the raw nuts by just buying raw hazelnut butter in the store and add all the other ingredients yourself. You’ll end up with a smoother consistency and homemade Nutella in under 5 minutes! Just make sure to find a raw, unsweetened hazelnut butter that’s only ingredients are hazelnuts.
If you don’t like hazelnuts, this recipe works beautifully with raw almonds or cashews. It won’t taste exactly like Nutella, but you get to skip the roasting and peeling and the reap the benefits of the resulting spread staying raw. You’ll get the vitamin E and B vitamins from the nuts, the calcium, iron, and magnesium from the dates and maple syrup, and the antioxidants from the cocoa powder. All the benefits with none of the artery-clogging saturated fat, animal protein, and oil? Yes, please!
Next time I’m going to take the easy route and buy the premade hazelnut butter and take all the credit.
Isn’t that what Sandra Lee used to call Semi-Homemade?
Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts (or 3/4 cup premade raw hazelnut butter)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder for a more subtle chocolate flavor)
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and softened in warm water for 10 minutes
- 2 TBS maple syrup
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk
- Preheat the oven to 230 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the raw hazelnuts. Bake for 12-15 minutes, shaking the pan once half way through.
- Remove the nuts from the oven and allow them cool for a few minutes.
- Using a clean kitchen towel or your hands, rub the hazelnuts vigorously until the skins fall off.
- Place the skinned hazelnuts into your food processor.
- (If you are using raw cashews or almonds instead of hazelnuts, start here). Process on high for 5-8 minutes until a nut butter starts to form. Stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl occasionally.
- (If you are using premade hazelnut butter, start here). Add the cocoa powder, medjool dates, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and half of the plant milk. Process until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the remaining plant milk while the food processor is still running until your desired consistency is reached.
- Serve with fresh fruit, on a sandwich, on pumpkin pancakes, on banana pancakes, on oatmeal, in a smoothie, on nice cream, or lick it straight off the spoon.
- Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days…but I guarantee it won’t last that long!
Are you surprised that Nutella isn’t a health food as it was originally advertised or are you much smarter than I used to be?
Full disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. Meaning, basically, if you make a purchase from any of these links it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for supporting my family