Growing up in an Italian household, there weren’t too many sweets to be found in the cupboards, but Nutella was an exception. The creamy, chocolate-hazelnut spread was a staple at breakfast and served as a replacement for peanut butter – I didn’t even know peanut butter existed as a child, I assumed Nutella was the norm.
The flavor of Nutella is incredible, and it’s difficult to imitate. Also, it comes as no surprise that Nutella isn't the healthiest breakfast option there is. In this Instructable we'll attempt to replicate the great taste of Nutella while (maybe) making it marginally more healthy.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
- Hazelnuts (de-shelled) - 175 grams (about 1 cup)
- Powdered sugar - 75 grams (about 2/3 cup)
- Cocoa powder - 25 grams (about 1/4 cup)
- Vegetable oil - 7 teaspoons
- Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - pinch
Preheat oven to 350F for roasting hazelnuts.
Step 2: Get Cracking - Hazelnut Tips and Tricks
I'm am not a Hazelnut expert, but I do eat a ton of them. Like any nut I eat, I prefer buying them shelled. It makes the eating process more rewarding if it takes a little work.
In no particular order, here are some tips and tricks I've learned about hazelnuts over the years.
- Bulk bin hazelnuts don't seem as fresh/good quality as bagged in shell hazelnuts
- If you do buy them in bulk bins, most cashiers at grocery stores are bewildered by hazelnuts. I usually get asked if they are "acorns" and I have to tell them to look for "hazelnuts" or "filberts" in the system.
- In the photo above (photo 2) I'm using an over-sized, rubber handle nutcracker which is no better than a simple all-metal nutcracker. Just like can openers, the simpler it is the better it works; find a cheap simple nut cracker, nothing fancy.
- If a hazelnut is hard to open, rather than squeezing harder, try reorienting the nut. There's usually a weak point in the nut, and if you can open the nut with little force, there's a better chance the meat will stay intact rather than shatter all over the room.
- It's not always the case, but hazelnuts with already cracked shells may taste a bit spoiled (as seen in photo 3)
- If you open a hazelnut and the meat is shriveled (photo 4) its likely going to taste terrible, or at best taste bland.
- I like removing the little fibrous stem from the hazelnut meat (photo 5) before eating or using for recipes
Step 3: Roast the Hazelnuts
Measure out 175g of hazelnuts and place them in a baking pan. Try to find a large enough pan for the hazelnuts to spread out evenly on.
Roast the hazelnuts at 350F for around 5-6 minutes. You'll smell the hazelnuts becoming aromatic.
Remove the hazelnuts and let them rest for a couple minutes.
Step 4: Remove the Skins
This is the most time consuming part.
Now that the hazelnuts are roasted, you can remove the skin by rubbing the hazelnuts between your fingers, hands, or even a tea towel. Some nuts will be harder than others, do the best you can.
The main reason to remove the skin is to reduce the bitterness of the hazelnut, and decrease the grittiness of the final product. I prefer my final spread to be a little gritty (tricks me into thinking its healthy), so I'm not too picky about removing all the skins.
Note: I expected you to be snacking on hazelnuts earlier while cracking, and if you sneak a taste now that the hazelnuts are roasted you'll find that the flavour has changed dramatically.
Step 5: Mixing the Ingredients
You can see how lazy I was with removing the skins. Anyway load the nuts into your blending vessel and let it rip. Use a food processor or blender to mix the ingredients together. I used a Nutri-Bullet which tends to clog up to easily, so I would not recommend it. Regardless of the appliance you use you may need to scrape the walls a few times with a spatula to help it mix.
Start with just the hazelnuts and blend until they become somewhat creamy (it may take a few minutes of blending).
Next blend in the powdered sugar, then cocoa, then salt. The mixture will be fairly dry and gritty at this point.
Once the dry ingredients are in, add the oil and vanilla and blend until desired creaminess. I've found that you may need to add some more oil at this point if the hazelnuts were a little dry to begin with.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Finally, the best part, enjoying your product! The final spread is slightly more nutty tasting than actual Nutella, but I actually prefer it to the original.
There are all kind of ways to enjoy chocolate-hazelnut spread. Maybe the simplest and most enjoyable form is on a piece of toast.
Here are only a few other ideas for your chocolate-hazelnut spread:
- as a dip for breadsticks, or graham crackers
- as a topping for ice cream
- as a filling for cookies