Being European, I was weaned onto Nutella, that delicious Italian
chocolate-hazelnut spread sugar & palm oil spread. To this day, hazelnut & chocolate is my favorite flavor combination, and I never tire of dreaming up dishes & drinks like iced chocolate-hazelnut milk, chocolate-hazelnut pudding and cake (soon to be posted here) and, of course, this knock-off version of Nutella.
According to Wikipedia, Nutella was inspired by a traditional Piedmontese recipe, gianduja — a mixture containing approximately 71.5% hazelnut paste and 19.5% chocolate. It was developed in Piedmont, Italy, with hazelnuts being used when a lack of cocoa beans after post-war rationing reduced availability of the raw material.
Nowadays, the main ingredients of Nutella are sugar and palm oil (which make up more than 50%). Hazelnuts make up a mere 13%, cocoa solids, skimmed milk and artificial vanilla flavoring (vanillin) make up the rest. A two-tablespoon serving of Nutella contains a whopping 21 g of sugar — that’s just shy of the daily 25 g of added sugar the World Health Organization suggests is acceptable for a healthy adult (the WHO recommends limiting added sugar to 5% of total energy intake). Yikes; that sounds cloyingly sweet to me.
In the United States, Ferrero was sued in a class action for false advertising leading to consumer inferences that Nutella has nutritional and health benefits (from advertising claims that Nutella was “part of a nutritious breakfast”). In April 2012, Ferrero agreed to pay a $3 million settlement (up to $4 per jar for up to five jars per customer). The settlement also required Ferrero to make changes to Nutella’s labeling and marketing, including television commercials and their website.
If you love hazelnuts or chocolate as much as I do, but don’t love slathering palm oil and sugar onto your breakfast toast, this recipe is for you (and your kids). Here’s how they stack up against each other:
|Per 2 tbsp serving||“Nutella” (homemade)||Nutella (commercial)|
|Net Carbs||2 g||21 g|
|Sugar||2 g||21 g|
|Fat, total||5 g||12 g|
|Fat, saturated||0.4 g||4 g|
Need I say more?
- 1 high-powered blender like Blendtec or Vitamix
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts I use Trader Joe's delicious Oregon toasted hazelnuts (if you can't find toasted hazelnuts, you can toast them yourself; see note below)
- 2 tbsp cocoa/cacao unsweetened
- 1 small pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar I like mine quite dark-chocolatey; if you want yours a little sweeter, add an extra ½ tbsp or a few drops liquid stevia
- 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract alcohol-free (I use Trader Joe's "organic, alcohol-free, pure vanilla flavor"
- 5 tbsp hazelnut milk or any other milk
- Place the nuts in the blender and grind until they start to turn into a fine, sticky powder (if your blender is narrow enough, they might even turn into nut butter).
- Add the remaining ingredinets and process into a smooth paste, about 2 minutes on HIGH. You may need to stop the beldner every now and then to scrape some of the paste off the sides, to ensure even blending.
- Transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate. Refrigerated, this should stay good for about two weeks.