Super…Nutella?

My kids LOVE Nutella (and okay, who doesn’t? hazelnuts, aka Filberts (does anyone actually call them Filberts anymore, really?), cocoa, sugar? I’m down. Or, well, I used to be when I consumed sugar like a Hummer H1 chugging gas on the 405 freeway during rush hour. Still, I love those flavors of hazelnut and chocolate, and I wondered if there was a way to achieve them in a more healthy way, using raw cacao instead of cocoa and agave instead of sugar. So, I bought a couple bags of hazelnuts at my local health food store…and then they sat in my baking drawer for the last three months. To be honest, I kind of forgot I wanted to try making my own superfood Nutella. Until last week when a friend posted something on Facebook from a blog called All Sorts of Pretty about making her own almond butter, and suddenly I remembered those sad, lonely forgotten Filberts, er, hazelnuts again.

So fast-forward to today – another weirdly-fall-like July morning in Maine. My friend Pelly’s husband Alan was here helping out with fixing various things around the house. He’s like my second dad (both he and Pel are part of that whole family-I-picked-myself thing that I talked about in yesterday’s blog), and the best part about his being here is he makes things that look like this (thank you, torrential-rainfall-on-Tuesday!):

Kennelbefore

Magically look like this again (no animals were hurt in the collapse of said outdoor kennel):

kennel

So, anyway, I gathered my ingredients:

Superfood Nutella

Ingredients:

2 cups raw hazelnuts (otherwise known as the illustrious Filbert)

1/4 cup raw organic cacao (otherwise known as raw chocolate)

1/2 cup raw organic coconut oil

5 tbsp raw, organic agave nectar

I knew from reading the almond butter blog that grinding the hazelnuts down in my food processor would take awhile. After the first five minutes or so, they looked like this:

Ground hazelnuts

Getting through these first 15 minutes involves a lot of stopping and scraping. Somewhere during all of that, Alan came through the kitchen to offer his $0.02, “What are you making, hummus?” I could hear the derision in his voice. “No. I’m making homemade Nutella.” That didn’t get a much better response. “What?! It’s for the blog! It’s going to be delicious!” “You keep saying it to yourself and you might believe it!” I yelled after him that he has yet to have a bad dinner in this house, but he was already off to fix my dryer. I mentally stuck my tongue out at his back and kept grinding and scraping. After 15 minutes, the hazelnuts started to look like this:

hazelnut butter

Look at those nuts grind!

Cuisinart grinding hazelnuts

Sadly, I think tiny bits of my spatula are also in there somewhere, thanks to my slightly overenthusiastic scraping of the very sharp Cuisinart blade. It’s out of focus here, but you get the idea.

Torn spatula

Anyway, once the nuts were really starting to turn to butter (about 15 to 20 minutes of grinding and scraping later), it was time to add the coconut oil, cacao, and agave…

IMG_1232

…and grind some more. And this is where things got a little, well, imperfect:

homemade superfood nutella

It sort of took on the consistency of brownie mix. And I may have let it grind too long – the blade was hot with friction, and the coconut oil had melted. Still, the flavor was great – not exactly Nutella, but a close superfood cousin. And even my son admitted he liked it. I scooped it into a jar and popped it in the fridge – I’m hoping once it cools down it’ll be easier to mix the coconut oil in better to get a creamier consistency.

IMG_1237

So now what to do with it? It’ll work to satisfy your sweet tooth in a lot of areas: Mix with a little ricotta and extra agave for a delicate, rich, healthier version of chocolate mousse, serve on whole grain toast, add it to smoothies with avocado and spinach (yes, really!). Use your imagination. And tell me here how your version goes when you try it!

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Categories: Recipes:

Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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