Who Doesn’t Love Nutella?
OK so I know there are a lot of Nutella fans out there. Kids everywhere are in love with the stuff. And many adults are too for that matter (I see you there with your spoon in the jar…!!). And what’s not to love…..?? It’s creamy, it’s rich, it’s chocolatey and a little bit nutty.
But I’ve read the labels and for me…the fun ends there.
Nutella is supposed to be a hazelnut spread with cocoa. That’s what it says on the label. And the company website states clearly that Nutella is “A mix of hazelnuts and cocoa”. So there should be quite a lot of hazelnuts in there right…?? Hazelnuts should be the main ingredient…?? Surely…???!!
Nutella contains a measely 13% of hazelnuts and an even stingier 7.4% of cocoa powder….. Now this just annoys me. How can they call it a hazelnut spread when it contains just 13% of hazelnuts…??!! And what annoys me even more is that sugar is the main ingredient in this spread and “sugars”, natural or added, account for over 50% of the end product. Yes. You read correctly. There is actually 56.3g of sugars in every 100g of Nutella.
And the other main ingredient…?? Palm oil. So you’re basically eating sugar and palm oil with a few hazelnuts and a sprinkle of cocoa…… I know. You’re shocked. So was I. And just so frustrated that companies pull the wool over our eyes like this….
But unfortunately, it’s true. I do not lie. Check out this screenshot from their website which shows nutritional information.
So for me…this is a double whammy of naughtiness. Not only are they scrimping terribly on the hazelnuts, they’re loading the spread up with ridiculous amounts of sugar. FYI, Nutella contains way more sugar than coke…!!
But back to the point. We still LOVE it. It tastes good. For me, it’s too sweet (no surprises there…!!) so a minuscule amount is all I ever have but the kids enjoy it and so do yours (probably).
I am always trying to be inventive in the kitchen and you know I love a challenge so rather than say… “Sorry kids…no more Nutella” I’m going to try and create my own Nutella recipe (I hate to disappoint the kids….!!). Of course, there will be no more actual Nutella because I simply can’t support a company that in my opinion is so grossly misleading. But let’s move on and get to the good part of this blog…!!
Designing My Nutella Recipe
If you have ever searched the internet for ‘chocolate spread recipe’ or ‘Nutella recipe’ you’ll have seen there are many…!! They are all different too. Some contain butter. Others have cream, milk or even milk powder. Some include melted chocolate, others just cocoa powder. The good news is, all contain hazelnuts!!
So which Nutella recipe should you pick…?? Well, I researched this extensively and I can say that some of the images and recipes I saw didn’t look very appealing and didn’t bear much of a resemblance to Nutella at all. And at the end of the day, we are trying to get as close as possible to Nutella, but with proper ingredients and a genuine nod to the hazelnuts which are supposed to be the hero. So I don’t want something that has a crumbly texture. Sure, it might taste nice but that’s not the point.
So I read lots and lots of recipes and using my knowledge of food, flavour and texture came up with my own unique Nutella recipe which err….. turned out frickin’ amazing….!! It’s VERY close to what Nutella has to offer but just a million times better (in my humble opinion).
A Very Nutty Recipe
First things first. My Nutella recipe includes LOTS of hazelnuts. It’s the main ingredient, as it should be. And it includes real chocolate rather than cocoa powder. I wanted the richness of real chocolate and the texture it brings. I went for a 72% Whitakers Fair Trade chocolate but I guess you could go for a milk version if you prefer.
So that’s the top two ingredients taken care of. Now I needed to think about how to get that creaminess. So, some sort of dairy had to be added – milk or cream…?? I discounted butter because I didn’t want my spread to taste of butter. The texture might be there but we need a creamy flavour.
So, I went for full fat milk. This is because I think cream would have produced too thick a result. I have made many a chocolate ganache in my time (which is just cream and chocolate) so with the addition of nuts into the mix, I think the mixture would have ended up too firm and/or crumbly.
So hazelnuts, chocolate and milk are in. Most recipes (but not all) added some sort of sweetener and whilst this might not have been absolutely necessary, I felt that as I had chosen a very dark chocolate which can have a bitter twinge to it, a small amount of honey couldn’t hurt. A proper maple syrup would have been good too I think.
And finally a pinch of salt which will ‘lift’ the flavours. Don’t worry about it tasting salty – it doesn’t!!
Thanks for sticking with me so far…. Enough talking. Let’s get down to business.
230g Dark Chocolate (I used 72% Whitakers Fair Trade)
350ml Whole Milk
3 Tbsp Honey (or Maple Syrup if you like)
A pinch of sea salt flakes
My Nutella recipe makes 900g of spread enough to fill 2 and a half Rose’s Marmalade jars…!!
1. Preheat your oven to 180°c.
2. Put your hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
3. Gently transfer your roasted nuts onto a tea towel. Wrap them up and rub them vigorously to remove the skins. Don’t worry if you have some skins left – it doesn’t affect the end result. You can leave out this step if you have managed to buy hazelnuts with no skins!!
4. Put your warm hazelnuts into a food processor or high powered blender. I used a food processor which worked fine.
5. Process the nuts for around 10 minutes. Watch the transformation as you go from rattly, loud, whole nuts, to crumbs, to a doughy looking mixture and finally to a thick liquid slurry!! It’s quite fascinating. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to make sure you get a smooth result.
N.B. What you end up with might not be perfectly smooth, but if you are patient you should get a pretty good result. Just keep processing/blending while you carry on with the following steps.
6. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it. You can use a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water or melt in a microwave using short blasts of 30 seconds, stirring inbetween.
7. Put your milk and honey in a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. As soon as you see bubbles, take it off the heat as we don’t want it to boil and scorch the milk.
8. With the motor running on your processor, pour the warm milk slowly onto your hazelnut slurry.
9. Wipe down the sides of the bowl and process again before adding your melted chocolate. Blend again thoroughly until you have no streaks of milk on the side of the bowl.
10. Sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt and blend once more.
11. Pour your mix carefully into sterilised jars. Don’t worry that it looks like milkshake. It will firm up on cooling.
12. Store in the fridge and enjoy. I know you will!!
And there it is. The perfect replacement to the sugar and palm oil spread that calls itself Nutella.
I must admit, I was really impressed with these results…. My spread tasted GREAT – like actual hazelnuts and chocolate, and the texture was amazing too. It wasn’t perfectly 100% smooth but pretty darn good. Enjoy as you would your favourite brand of chocolate spread, slathered on toast or spread on crepes like the French do – that’s how we roll at the weekends!! Or heck… just get a spoon if you’re that way inclined. I won’t tell….😉
In the spirit of full disclosure and honesty though….Kevin thought my spread was a little too nutty and could have done with more chocolate. So, whilst I thought this recipe was perfection, if you prefer a more chocolatey flavour then maybe use the whole bar of Whitakkers…!!!
So, armed with my own “Nutella Recipe”, I will not be buying Nutella ever again and now you don’t have to either.
Want to see some more mouth watering recipes?