Why would anyone want powder Nutella?
Always looking for ways to add fun to cooking, recently we discovered a molecular gastronomy technique for powdering any foodstuff that has a measurable quantity of oil or fat. Often used by hikers to make messy foodstuffs easier to transport, this technique also can be used to make yummy dessert toppings or to add a degree of fun and creativity to meals.
This technique is made possible by maltodextrin, a food-additive that is made from starch and is used commercially to make things like ice cream, puddings, and peanut butter smoother. We use maltodextrin made from tapioca as opposed to potato, corn, or wheat because it is non-GMO, organic, and gluten-free. We used Nutella because, well, it is Nutella.
Step 1: Measure Ingredients - Sort Of
For powder, the ratio of maltodextrin to yummy stuff, in our case, Nutella, is approximately 60/40 (by volume). Approximately, due to the fact that the amount of maltodextrin you will need depends heavily on the fat content of what is being powdered. Nut butters and spreads, for the most part, will require these proportions. Never fear however, the amounts can be varied during the process.
When the ingredients are in the pan similar to the picture above, it is time for the next step.
Step 2: Combining the Ingredients
Using a chopping and mixing motion with the chopper/scraper, incorporate the maxtodextrin powder into the Nutella. See the pictures above as a reference. Continue this for about two to five minutes until it looks like the second picture.
Step 3: Decision Time
Once the powder looks like the picture above, it is time to make some decisions. Is the powder fine enough? Is more maltodextrin or Nutella needed to reach this stage? If so, simply add one or the other and repeat the previous step, otherwise, continue on...
Step 4: Optional Step for Very Fine Powder
If you want a very fine powder, which could be useful in making desserts, add more maltodextrin and chop until no clumps remain larger than a candy sprinkle. Using a sieve (also called a tamis), shake the powder through the sieve into the tray. This is a very slow and laborious process, so unless an absolutely fine, flour-like powder is needed, skip to the end. :)
Step 5: Store in an Air-tight Container
Since the resulting powder will return to its unpowdered state (albeit a little more sludgy) on contact with water, it is best to keep it stored in an airtight container. We use zippered plastic bags so it is easy to transport. Try the finished powder on ice cream, to finish the edges of desserts like ice cream bars, or sprinkled on a peanut butter sandwich. One of the best ways to use it with kids is to make a sandwich with jelly and the powder on top, tell the kids it is a sand and jelly sandwich, or a "sand-wich." :)
Enjoy and have fun!