Hazel tames the giant Nutella

Giant Nutellas lurk about in the strangest places. Here they are, hiding on the bottom shelf in Le Bon Marché in Paris!

Hazel is deeply wise. She holds the secrets of the earth within her. Love her and she’ll tell you where to quench your thirst… for water and for knowledge. What’s more, she’ll bless you with a silver tongue for telling others what you’ve learned. So it’s said. But is there any truth behind the power of our elf  Hazel?

Here’s what we know for sure: Hazel harnesses the power of the nut. And nuts are powerhouses of nutrition. Eating a handful of nuts a day can help prevent heart problems and weight gain. That’s why nuts are key players in many popular weight-loss programs these days.

Raw hazelnuts are half the price of the roasted, skinned ones. I’m the miserly sort, so I went for the cheapo ones.

Would you believe there are 130 hazelnuts in just one of those giant kilogram jars of Nutella? There is also a heap of skim milk and cocoa powder thrown into the mix. How can anything with so much fiber, vitamins C, B, and  E, protein, folate, and calcium be anything but good? Well, Nutella has its detractors. For one, there is a large dose of sugar – 11 grams in one tablespoon. And then, there is the whole palm oil thing. This vegetable oil has 41% saturated fat (the bad kind, but just half what palm kernel oil has….) and no trans fats (the worst offender). So maybe palm oil is only half bad? The jury is still out, but I think there could be a place for modest amounts of palm oil  in our food. However…  health is not the only concern opponents to palm oil have. Over-farming of the rainforest is threatening endangered animals, like the gorgeous orangutan. Our elf  Hazel would definitely be sympathetic to this cause!

Momma orangutan and baby. Photo courtesy of harrymoon, FlickR Commons

I just LUV Nutella, though, and I’ve even used it as an ingredient in my healthiest cookies ever (the recipe is in my book). So what is a nutty orangutan-loving Nutella fan to do? Well, if you have the time and the inclination, you can make your own hazelnut spread. It’s not hard if you have a food processor. You get to say how much sugar is enough, and you can simply leave out the palm oil or use olive oil instead.

Vinny’s Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate “Nutella”

1 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts 1/4 cup (50 grams ) cocoa (dutch-processed is less bitter) 1  cup skim milk 2 tablespoons olive oil 3/4 cup skim  milk powder 2 tablespoons  maple syrup (optional, use stevia instead and unsweetened chocolate rather than bittersweet to lower the sugar by half again) pinch salt 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 heaping cup (200 grams) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, or chips 3/4 cup (125 grams) chopped milk chocolate, or chips

Warm hazelnut sauce on eggy pancakes with strawberries

On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the nuts in a 400ºF oven for 10 minutes, or until their skins begin to pop. Shake them up half way through. Then keep an eye on them, because they burn easily. Burnt hazelnuts taste yucky!!! Pour the hot nuts onto an old (but clean) tea towel, gather the corners into a bundle and rub the nuts together like mad. You want to rub off as much of their skins as possible. This is hard work. Maybe that’s why the roasted nuts were twice the price! While they’re warm, blend the nuts in a food processor until they go from finely ground to pasty. Meanwhile, warm the milk, powdered milk, maple syrup, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan. Watch it and stir, because the milk can easily burn on the bottom. Remove from heat as soon as it starts to boil. In a glass or stainless steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Take off the heat a little before it’s completely melted, because you don’t want it to curdle. Add the melted chocolate to the ground nuts and process the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the warm milk mixture bit by bit, and process until the sauce is well blended. It will be more liquid than Nutella, but don’t worry. It gets thick when it is thoroughly cool. While it’s still warm, you can strain it into jars if you like it smoother rather than nutty. But I like the extra fiber. Makes about 2 1/4 cups. Keep it in the fridge. Vinny served the hazelnut sauce on eggy pancakes and poured some over strawberries. He also uses it in his chocolate cookies, melting moments. The spread works fine without palm oil. Hazel the elf, in her usual charming, understanding, socially conscious, honest and tolerant way… says, “Enjoy!”

Vinny’s homemade hazelnut and chocolate “Nutella” spread gets a thumbs up!

Yield: About 2 1/4 cups or 36 tablespoons. Nutrition information per tablespoon (From eaTracker, by Dietitians of Canada): 98 Calories 6 g fat (including 1.8 g saturated fat, no trans fat) 9.6 g carbs (including 1.2 g fibre and 7.6 g sugar) 2.4 g protein 19 mg sodium (salt), 116 mg potassium, 53.8 mg calcium 21.5 RAE Vit A, 7.4 DFE folate Recipe adapted from The Family Kitchen. If you want to compare nutrients of Vinnie’s recipe with the commercial Nutella by Ferrero, here’s their nutrition label.

nutella nutrition-facts


Nuts to you, cowboy! Nuts and seeds power good health for cowgirls and boys. Make this snack for the trail.

Mares eat oats… Make some hearty pemmican-style treats to fuel your wilderness outings or trips to the city park.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bakingaddict
    Oct 31, 2012 @ 18:53:51

    I’m impressed you made your own nutella. I should give it a go too as I love that stuff and I know it’s not all good for you! Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.


    • Vinny Grette
      Oct 31, 2012 @ 21:28:44

      Hi Baking addict – It’s amazingly easy to make your own Nutella and it passed the test of my two little tasters. I use it in my own recipe for a healthy chocolate cookie, among other things


  2. karlamcurry
    May 10, 2012 @ 10:05:28

    Oh goodness, do I LOVE Nutella. I can eat spoonful after spoonful. *sigh* I haven’t bought the stuff in ages because of all the sugar. I have a couple homemade versions bookmarked but have yet to make them; I’d probably eat it all in one sitting, rendering the “healthier” aspect almost moot.


  3. AJ's Mom
    May 03, 2012 @ 08:09:01

    love the nuttela goodness


  4. pantryobsession
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 21:36:33

    I love this! Looks delicious and I also like the no palm oil. By the way, thanks for visiting my blog and for the ‘like’ :)


  5. yogininoms
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 22:20:02

    Yikes! 11 grams of sugar in just one tablespoon? Your homemade version sounds much better!


    • Vinny Grette
      Apr 26, 2012 @ 23:31:01

      If sugar is a complete no-no for you, this recipe would need even more changes than I made to mine here. The chocolate I used had sugar in it. if you used no chocolate and relied only on cocoa, and sweetened it up with your stevia, you might get away with it. If you try this, let us know how it turns out?


  6. janderoo92
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 14:24:42

    Bravo to you for coming up with a recipe that bypassed palm oil – for the environment as well as the health issues. (My own orangutan-loving elf at home would greatly appreciate this.) My husband is allergic to hazelnuts, do you think it would work substituting almonds or pecans? I know hazelnuts tend to be the nutty favorite for blending with chocolate.


    • Vinny Grette
      Apr 26, 2012 @ 16:13:51

      You need a flavorful oily nut, that grinds nicely into a paste. Almonds might work. No harm in trying! This is really so good, I’d give it a shot. It’s much better on day 2 (if it lasts that long :) )


  7. frugalfeeding
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 16:29:49

    Good, frugal habits – nice one. Also, this looks delicious!


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