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Faux Nutella Recipe

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’m addicted to Nutella.  Just leave me alone with my own jar of that creamy, dreamy, chocolatey deliciousness and a great, big spoon, and I’m happy.  But, let’s face it. Nutella isn’t exactly considered a health food.  It contains gobs of sugar and smaller amounts of some yucky stuff like palm oil and artificial vanilla flavoring, whatever that is.  In light of my obsession, I can live with that.  But, considering how much Nutella actually consume, I thought I should maybe look into some other options.  

When I was visiting Portland [1] last month [2], I picked up a few bags of hazelnuts at the farmers market.  Did you know that Oregon is the number one producer of hazelnuts in the United States?  I had no idea!   Anyway, I decided to use some of them to make my own chocolate-hazelnut spread, aka faux Nutella.   There are a slew of different recipes floating around the web, but the one I liked best came from the Encyclopédie du Chocolat [3] via David Lebovitz’s site [4].  The reason that I chose it was because it didn’t call for any processed sugar, oils or additional fats, which was what I was trying to avoid.

I did change some things around, though.  Instead of a mix of hazelnuts and almonds, I used only hazelnuts.  I cut the amount of honey in the original recipe down by one tablespoon, and used nonfat dry milk because I couldn’t find the whole milk kind.  I altered the proportion of milk and dark chocolate, and also added a few tablespoons of cocoa powder.  It was fantastic –  rich and creamy, with an intense, but not bitter, chocolate flavor.   I am officially in love!

Although there are several steps involved in making this faux Nutella, they are all pretty quick and easy to do.    First, you have to toast the hazelnuts and rub off their skins.  Then you have to grind them as finely as you can.  After that, you add ribbons of melted chocolate, followed by the rest of the ingredients.

The mixture that you end up with is very thin.  David warns about this in his post.  But, he also says that the spread thickens up nicely after being chilled for a few hours – which it does.  You also may find it to be a little bit grainy.  The original recipe does say to strain the mixture, but I didn’t – and I thought it was fine.  If you are bugged by it, by all means, strain away.

We’ve been enjoying this spread in lots of different ways, but I’ve become infatuated with it sandwiched in between two vanilla wafers.  It’s the perfect little bite!

So, go ahead and indulge in this guilty pleasure, with a little less guilt, by making your own faux Nutella.  I am!