Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (a.k.a Nutella)

I could eat Nutella on almost anything. It is smooth, creamy, delicious and…oh yeah, I almost forgot, highly addictive and far from healthy.  I have seen numerous healthier-at home versions of Nutella and thought I’d share my take on the recipe. While this chocolate hazelnut spread is delicious, it is NOT Nutella. So, please don’t make this expecting the same results. This recipe uses 70% (or greater) dark cacao chips, dairy-free milk, and a fraction of the sweetener (notice I did not say sugar J).  In addition, I have eliminated all processed, refined, and artificial ingredients. Oh yeah, this is the real deal!

What I love even more about this chocolate hazelnut spread is the fact that it makes a fantastic DIY Christmas gift! I packaged it in cute little mason jars, tied with a twine bow and a homemade gift tag. Love!

One suggestion I have is to soak the hazelnuts overnight, let them dry and then continue with roasting in the oven. I did not do this but think it may give you an even creamier consistency.

2 cups of raw unsalted hazelnuts (sometimes called filberts)
1 cup of coconut milk (almond, hazelnut or evaporated would also work)
1 cup of dark cacao chips (70% or greater)
¼ cup maple syrup (add more if you prefer it sweeter)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted (hazelnut oil would also work)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a single layer, spread the whole hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 8-10 minutes, until slightly fragrant and skin is cracking. Remove from oven and let cool.

Once the hazelnuts have cooled, place them on a kitchen towel and begin to rub the nuts together to remove the skin. Don’t worry if there are a few stubborn skins that won’t come off.

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and begin to pulse and grind until you have something that resembles nut butter.

Mean while, heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Slowly add the dark cacao chips and stir until you have a smooth, creamy chocolate sauce.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the food processor, along with the other ingredients, and continue to process until you have a lovely chocolate hazelnut spread. Mmmm good!

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