Updated: Sep 27
How many people can say, "I don't like Nutella!"
Not many. Right?
Well, I'm one of those people who love Nutella, but never buy it. This very common delicious hazelnut spread contains a LOT of sugar and some of the ingredients are questionable as well. While it is marketed as a healthy snack/breakfast food I’d not categorize it any different than donuts and candy bars due to its high SUGAR content being 21 grams per serving. That's about 5 teaspoons of pure GMO sugar! Honestly, does this sound good enough to feed to your child and call it a healthy breakfast?
Mislabeling can be a problem
Mislabeling resulted in a lawsuit in 2012 to Nutella's parent company Fererro in USA, for making misleading health claims in its advertising and packaging. The over 3 million dollar settlement reimbursed consumers who had bought Nutella thinking it was healthy. The settlement also required Fererro USA to change their packaging, website and marketing to reflect the high sugar content contained in its product.
Popularity of this spread
Nutella is popular around the world, and where I grew up this delicious spread reached popularity in the early90's when Ukraine was no longer under the rule of the Soviet Union. This allowed the opportunity for the importation of various products of which we didn't have access to prior to that time.
History about this spread
After WW2 the shortage of ingredients was everywhere due to post war rationing. But talented baker Pietro Ferrero, who loved to experiment with ingredients, decided to scratch the expensive ingredient like cocoa with nuts, and used the most available nuts at that time in his region. By 1964 the most popular spread in the world was born: a sweet paste made of hazelnuts and just a hint of cocoa created in the town of Alba Italy. Pietro's son, Michele Ferrero, created the first jar of the hazelnut paste. He called it 'Nutella,' combining the English word 'nut' and the Latin suffix for sweet 'ella'. And by the 1970s, Nutella made it to Europe and then it began spreading across the world.
In nowadays for this big global company, the supplies for the spread are mostly produced in just few countries:
Hazelnuts - in Turkey
Cocoa - in Nigeria
Palm oil - in Malaysia
Sugar - in Brazil
Vanilla flavor - in China
What do I like about homemade Nutella?
This homemade and guilt free option is great if you are really trying to limit carbs/sugar, since you can substitute monk fruit, stevia or another natural option for the sugar. You can also use maple syrup or raw honey. In the video I used Medjool dates and maple syrup, in place of the sugar for a refined sugar-free version. All the ingredients that I incorporate into this homemade version are natural and good for you.
What is the downside to this homemade version?
It isn’t as creamy as the “real” thing and its consistency is that of almond butter. If you want a natural option that is better than the original, I’d recommend this one.
How do I serve?
Since school has begun I am always on the hunt for healthy snacks. We love all kinds of nut butters and real butter for sandwiches, but occasionally I like to use my homemade Nutella. It is a great and healthy treat just perfect for an after school snack.
Here are a few ways I serve it:
On a slice of bread, this 100% whole wheat sourdough bread is the perfect compliment.
On a crepe with a few slices of banana or other fruit.
On slices of green apple.
On a waffle or pancake.
Honestly, the possibilities are limitless as to what you can do with this spread: Cake frosting, homemade ice-cream, or in smoothies. My kids love to sneak and eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar. Yummy!
How long will it last?
Great news, this spread can last for up to a few weeks in the refrigerator.
In my fridge this spread seems to do a disappearing act for it quickly becomes an empty jar!
What do I prize most about my "Nutella"?
First of all, my spread contains the cleanest of ingredients.
No refined sugar is added!
No artificial flavors such as imitation vanilla flavor.
Easy to make and is a great Mommy and kiddos food prep kitchen project.
The star of this treat are the nuts and yes, one of my favorite nuts!
Hazelnuts are actually popular in the area where I was raised. I remember how as children, in my grandparents' garden, we tried to sneak and pick unmatured nuts. Growing on bushes, instead of trees like walnuts, this made harvesting easier, especially for us kids trying to sneak a treat. Hazelnuts and walnuts were probably the only nuts I knew about before my adulthood.
Hazelnuts are a superfood without a doubt.
They contain great amounts of vitamin C, niacin, calcium and are a great source of magnesium, which has been proven to decrease the risk for diabetes.
Hazelnuts are a brain food. They’re full of elements that can improve brain function and help prevent diseases later in life like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s. A diet supplemented with hazelnuts can help keep your brain sharp due to their high levels of vitamin E, manganese, thiamine, folate, and fatty acids.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
2 cups raw hazelnuts
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
pinch of salt
4-5 tablespoons of Dutch cocoa
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of hot water (or more depends on the consistency you desire)
Place the nuts in a pan over medium heat. Roast them for a few minutes keeping a close watch to avoid burning the nuts.
2. Transfer them onto a kitchen towel wrapping them into the towel. Now, roll the nuts around inside of the towel for a few minutes. Most if not all of the skins should release from the nuts at this point. Don't worry if some skins don't come off.
3. Place nuts into a food processor (while they are still warm) and pulse for a few seconds. In the video I skipped this step and added all ingredients at once, except the water. It's ok to do this way too.
4. Pulse for a few minutes, stop, scrape and pulse again. Repeat this process a few times, and add water as needed. It may take a little bit more or less of water, depending upon your desired thickness.
P.S. This version of hazelnut spread is healthy, good for you, and you should enjoy it without any guilt. I hope you give it a try soon. Even though it's not exactly the same consistency as store-bought, it is still very delicious!