A Healthy Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Homemade Nutella

This week I saw another article that shows us how nutritious some of our favorite foods can be. Once again dark chocolate and red wine tops the list. Right after reading the article I sat down to do my weekly writing and was working on an article about the hazel tree (Corylus americana).

The tree has a lot of cultural importance throughout the world. It is often associated with insight and wisdom, actually being called the Tree of Knowledge in some mythologies. It is the favorite for those who dowse for water and Mary, the mother of Christ, is said to have blessed the tree for saving her from a dangerous snake.

The hazelnut is worthy to be considered in the list of surprisingly nutritious snack foods. In fact, all day I’ve been thinking about a recipe that combines two of these very healthful foods into something decadent. Last year for Christmas I made a dark chocolate hazelnut spread (homemade Nutella ®) and gave it as stocking stuffers. I’m going to share the recipe with you in this post; but first let’s see why the hazelnut needs to be considered in your list of favorite health goods.

Health Benefits of the Hazelnut

The hazelnut is heart healthy. They contain oleic and linoleic acids, which have been known to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). They are high in Vitamin E, which would make them a great choice to help women who are moving through menopause. For the rest of us, this extra Vitamin E is helpful for good skin and hair.

Hazelnuts are rich in the B complex vitamins, making everyone feel happy. The support that this gives to the nervous system is priceless, especially with the amount of stress and sleep deprivation that is common in our culture. Folate is one notable part of the “B’s” that is often suggested for pregnant women. I’m not a big fan of supplements in pill form and there are a number of concerns surrounding folate in this form. What better way to get a boost of folate than in a chocolate treat?

Homemade Nutella 1

Homemade Nutella ® Spread

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and roast them for 10-12 minutes. You’ll see the skins brown just a bit. Dump them directly into a slightly damp towel and rub them until the skins are removed. Cool.
  2. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
  3. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they make a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, extract, and salt and blend until everything is smooth. Add the cooled chocolate. Don’t worry if the spread seems too thin. It will thicken as it cools. Transfer to a pint jar with a tight-fitting lid and label. Refrigerate and use within 2-3 months.

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Comments

  1. Is there any way you could use another oil in place of sunflower? One of my best friends adores hazelnut anything but is deathly allergic to sunflower oil and I’d love to make him a bunch of this for Christmas.

    • Yes, most oils will do. If you want to keep the oil from overshadowing the other ingredients, keep it a light oil. You can also use coconut oil, but for my spread I like a less tropical taste.

      • Excellent, thanks very much. I was thinking/hoping coconut would work, I figure if I use the refined kind everything else will mask the tiny bit of coconut flavor left.

  2. How long does this last? Can I use jelly method to cook it in the water to take out all the air? Would olive oil or grapeseed oil be too overpowering for this recipe?

  3. I love nuts, but must admit I never really eat hazelnuts. No reason for this, I guess it just isn’t at the front of the selection when I go shopping.

    Anything that lowers cholesterol is always good and worth eating or at least incorporating into the diet now and again.

    I love how you finished off the spread with a square chocolate piece. The magic touch. LOL.

    I wouldn’t have thought to use almond extract, but having said that, I never usually make things like this. However, I will be sure to try a recipe like this as it is very simple and I am sure it is delicious.

    Finally, to my question. I notice you mentioned the potential of using Coconut Oil (which I love the sound of), but what about Sesame Oil? Would that be too strong? I have a real thing for sesame oil. :)

  4. I was also wondering if this needs to be refrigerated and how long will it last?

    Also, it appears this recipe makes a small (1/2 pint?) sized jar of product?

    Thanks!

    • Yes, to all that have asked about refrigeration. It looks like somehow in the translation that part of the article went missing! I’m so sorry about that! Yes, this needs to be refrigerated due to all the fresh ingredients. I’ve had it last about 2-3 months and more- just keep checking it for mold.