How to make a healthy alternative to Nutella at home

How to make a healthy alternative to Nutella at home

My children love Nutella (I can’t lie to you, I love it as much as they do)! I love that intense aroma of hazelnut mixed with chocolate. However, I try to reduce the intake of processed sugar in my kids’ diet and so it is no longer an integral part of our kitchen shelves.

It took me some time to find a perfect yet easy recipe for the home-made, healthier version of homemade chocolate spread that has a fantastic aroma, is greasy, slightly creamy although not perfectly (or if you want it, you must have a very strong food processor). with all the richness of excellent ingredients, and if it means something to you, it is vegan, that is, excellent for the period of fasting. Did I convince you?

High-quality ingredients are key to success for your home-made hazelnut chocolate spread recipe

Wonderful hazelnuts are the main part of this great home-made nutella (chocolate spread)! To be more precise, we are talking about some kind of honeycombed butter, which is enriched with sweetener and cocoa that gives this chocolate aftertaste. I use dates instead of sugar as a fantastic natural sweetener (perfect substitute for sugar). In addition to these basic ingredients, there is a pinch of salt that fine-intensifies the chocolate flavor of cocoa powder, a little vanilla and very little oil. All this is a fine mix and you have the perfect pleasure for breakfast, snack, or sweetening.

But why is Nutella bad for you?

Nutella ingredient list from the producer's website
Nutella Nutrition Facts. Source: Nutella US – https://www.nutella.com/en/us/range

If you read the label, you’ll get the answer to the question “what is Nutella maid of?”. The first mentioned product on an ingredients list is sugar – this actually means that the sugar makes the highest share of all the elements used. Secondly, there is plenty of palm oil plus soy lecithin and artificial flavor of vanilla (vanillin). As far as I’m concerned, even though there are no margarine or incomprehensible names of ingredients, I’m pretty sure it is better for us to control the quality of our family’s diet by preparing it by ourselves in our homes. If your children are accustomed to processed chocolate or dairy cream, it is understandable your homemade chocolate spread of this type won’t be quite appealing at first – they do not contain flavorings, flavor enhancers, sugar and fat in the same amount.

Don’t give up of your homemade chocolate spread

Give your children a chance, be persistent! Make small adjustments that will make the hazelnut spread more interesting for your kids, serve with pancakes (suggestion: buckwheat crepes) or toast if you like or as a filling for pastries and I believe that this fight will not last long! I’m sure they will be as thrilled as mine 🙂

Homemade chocolate spread recipe with hazelnut

Preparation time: 10min
Baking Time: 15min
Overall time: 25min

Ingredient list

quantity for one jar (about 300g)

125 g of hazelnut (or hazelnut and almond)
125 g fresh medjool dates (about 230g cleaned)
12-15 g of cocoa powder *
bit of sea salt
1/4 tea spoon of vanilla extract or powder
7 ml of melted coconut or other neutral oils *
30-45 ml of water (alternatively cow’s milk plant-based milk) *

Preparation steps for chocolate spread

  1. roasted hazelnutsPut raw hazelnuts (or mix them with almonds) in the oven for about 15 minutes at 160°C until they start releasing their aroma and a thin skin starts separating from the nuts. Let them cool down a little, just so you can rub them with your hands or cloth to remove the skins.
  2. Wash the dates, remove the stem. If you use dried dates, leave them in H2O for about half an hour or until they soften.
  3. food processorMix the nuts in the food processor and adding the coconut fats blend all together until you get a smooth mass, practically until you make a butter. The fat will speed up the process of getting a creamy mass.
  4. Add dates, cocoa powder (use bitter cocoa), salt, vanilla and some 20 ml of water. Blend until you get a uniform mixture. Put more liquid while blending, and occasionally open to see if you have reached the desired density.
    *If you get a large chocolate ball and the fat starts to separate, just keep muttering and keep adding water until everything blends together. This will happen because your mixture will get warm.
  5. Test if you like the chocolate spread and adjust if needed.
  6. Pour the chocolate hazelnut spread in the glass jar, put the lid and keep it in the fridge for a week or two. Homemade chocolate spread is best when you let it stand at the room temperature for a while.

What to eat with chocolate spread?

homemade nutella on a slice of bread

  • with a spoon directly from the jar – I know it is not very healthy, but we all have cravings for some chocolate every now and then and you most certainly deserve it, too!
  • Pancake and Nutella are a perfect combo, the same applies in the case of this DIY hazelnut chocolate spread.
  • Spread it on crackers, fresh or toast.
  • Add the chopped unsalted pistachios over your hazelnut spread in any of the named combinations
  • It’s great for filled pastries or biscuits.

Notes:

* Adjust the amount of cocoa powder for chocolate flavour to your taste. I like to “throw on the chocolate”, so I usually go to 15 g or more, but if you don’t like cocoa or you want to feel the hazelnut, start with 10 g and then add more if you like it.
* It is best to use some vegetable oils of neutral aroma or coconut oil. According to what I’ve concluded, you can go up to 20g of oil but I would not go with more.
* The choice of liquid  – until recently I used only water, but then I realized that the tastes are more rich if I use almond or hazelnut milk, and especially the cow’s milk, preferably full-bodied.
*The nutritional facts refer to the chocolate spread made only with hazelnut (if you use almond as a substitute for hazelnut, it will be a little less caloric because they contain less fat), with a recipe of the indicated volume of coconut fat and 12 g cocoa powder. The amount of water (or other liquids) you added will affect the numbers, because the spread volume will be greater or smaller.

Nutrition facts (per 100g chocolate spread)

energy value:  ~411kcal
total fat:  29 g
total carbohydrates:  40 g
proteins:  8 g