Nutrella: A healthier, home-made “Nutella”

Ghana, is only second in the world to Côte d'I...Real chocolate in their pods
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was experimenting with a homemade version of the chocolate-hazelnut spread sold under the brand name “Nutella” (which, depending on where you live, contains differing amounts of sugar, either vegetable or palm oil, milk, soy and artificial flavors – click here to be fully convinced to make a healthier version yourself).  A reader asked for the recipe.  I am happy to share, but need to be honest: I don’t actually follow recipes very often and when I get inspired to try something new, I tend to add a little of this, and then a little of that…. until it looks and tastes just right, but creating the encore is a little more challenging.

I will work on coming up with a bone fide recipe, but for now, what I can pass along is the following “suggested guidelines” and encourage you to experiment in order to come up with the perfect flavor/consistency combination for you and those who share your kitchen table. If you are unfamiliar with some of the ingredients or are not sure where to find them locally, I linked them to Amazon Groceries, who will gladly deliver them to your door.

Nutrella = more nutritious “nutella”

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together equal parts cashew butter (of course you can use hazelnut butter, as they do in the Nutella factory, but it is generally harder to find – though easy through this link – and more expensive) and sesame tahini (for a nut-free version, you should use tahini and sunflower seed butter); add several heaping spoonfuls of real cocoa powder ideally organic and fair-trade (so not Swiss Miss mix), a good pour of maple syrup and a smidge of pure vanilla extract.  Mix these together and check the consistency.  I wanted mine a little smoother (going for that luscious silky texture), so I added just a bit of light olive oil (coconut oil, grapeseed, a nut oil or sesame oil would all work well too).   Add some ground cinnamon, and/or maybe some cloves, ginger, nutmeg… whatever you like for added flavor.  A few drops of almond extract bring out the nutty flavor with a suggestion of marzipan, while orange extract creates that beautiful chocolate-orange marriage.

In my Mexican-inspired batch, I made the same base, but then added a heaping spoon of cinnamon and a considerably smaller spoonful of chili powder.  This is all about the flavor package, so you just have to keep tasting (could be worse, right? I have two children who graciously volunteered) to find the perfect flavor combination.

The mocha flavor is made, again, with the same base, but this time adding a heaping spoonful or two of instant coffee or grain coffee substitute for flavor. I like Inka Coffee Substitute which I use frequently to make “kids coffee” for my children and for anyone cutting down on caffeine.

To satisfy a crunchy mood, I added cacao nibs. The fat in the base mixture magically erases the natural bitter flavor of real chocolate, allowing for a stronger chocolate taste with a higher antioxidant and fiber content.

I’d love to hear what you come up with.  Please share your favorites!

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