Here and there on the Internet I’ve spied veganized versions of Nutella (aka chocolate hazelnut spread), and I’d had it in mind for months now to make some myself. My only requirement was that it had to be like Nutella, or at least like this stuff, which I bought at Karmavore for a hefty $12.99.
It was serendipitous, then, that I found this recipe posted by David Lebovitz. I have no idea who David Lebovitz is, actually, but the photo for his recipe for homemade nutella looked exactly like what I wanted to eat, only veganized.
This recipe makes a lot of hazelnut spread – David Lebovitz says the recipe yields 2 cups, but I ended up with at least 3 cups! Like this is a problem, though? Really, you can use this stuff in crepes, sandwich it in between cookies, put a heaping tablespoon in a cup of hot chocolate, and spread it on toast. (Or eat it right off the spoon like I know you will.)
And since I know that you’d rather me get out of the way so you can drool over the recipe, here is a pretty damn good “nutella”.
1 2/3 cup whole hazelnuts (with or without their skins)
1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used home-made cashew milk – recipe here)
3/4 cup + 1-2 tbsp powdered non-dairy milk*
4 tablespoons agave nectar
pinch of sea salt
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces (140g) dark chocolate, chopped (look for chocolate with 50% or more cacao solids)
*Note: I used powdered creamed coconut in my recipe. Some brands of this stuff include sodium caseinate in their product, which is a milk derivative. So watch out for this ingredient if you’d like to use powdered creamed coconut in your recipe.
1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
2. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10 -15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are nicely toasted and brown (but not burnt!). Stir the nuts every 5 minutes to evenly toast them and remove them from the oven once they are done.
2. In a small pot, combine the milk, powdered milk, agave, and salt and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, remove the pot from the heat.
3. Fill another small pot with about 1″ of water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to low so that it is just barely simmering. Put the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl and set the bowl over the top of the pot, using a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until it has completely melted.
4. If your nuts have their skins on them (skip this step if they don’t): Using a clean tea towel, place the nuts on the tea towel and gather up the edges of the towel, creating a pouch for the nuts. Rub the nuts together quickly and firmly to remove as much of the skins as you can. Don’t worry about how much skin is left on the nuts. Just try to get off as much as you can without stressing too much about it.
5. Use a food processor to grind the nuts as finely as you can (watch that you don’t turn them into a nut butter).
6. When the nuts are the right consistency (think tiny pin-head sized grains of nut), add the melted chocolate and continue to process the paste until the nuts are fully incorporated and the mixture is relatively smooth.
7. Add the milk mixture to the paste and process until it is fully combined and you have a pretty smooth paste.
9. Transfer the mixture into two jars (I reused some canning and nut butter jars) and refrigerate. The paste will seem a bit runny a first, but give it some fridge time and it will firm up into the perfect texture.