And the chocolate cravings continue! The good news is that my cravings inspired me to attempt a recipe I’ve been wanting to make forever: a vegan Nutella. Don’t get me wrong – I would be hard-pressed to turn down some of the real deal if it was offered to me, especially if a crepe and some sliced banana were involved. But I also love the challenge of taking something that contains animal products (in this case, skim milk powder) and coming up with an equally delicious vegan version.
There are a lot of different ways to approach a vegan chocolate hazelnut spread in terms of sweeteners and non-dairy milks, melting down chocolate versus using cocoa powder. And I bet all are pretty darn awesome. I mean, honestly, how can you really go wrong?
Oh, that’s right. You can burn your nuts. Yep, I said it.
I somehow got sidetracked for about two minutes too long when I was roasting the hazelnuts. Let’s just say my apartment kind of smells like burnt popcorn. It’s odd how that can happen when no popcorn was involved. It also left me wanting to make popcorn, and with hazelnuts that remind me of Dunkin’ Donuts’ hazelnut coffee. It’s a flavor I know all too well, considering this was one of a handful of “restaurants” in my old hometown.
I was not about to throw away $7 worth of hazelnuts, that’s for sure. I made that damn vegan Nutella anyway, and burnt nuts aside, this recipe is a keeper. The texture is smooth, the chocolate flavor is rich, and I can stop obsessing about my next chocolate fix.
Now if only I could air out that faint burnt popcorn smell that just keeps lingering…
- 2 C. Hazelnuts
- ¼ C. Cocoa Powder
- ¼ C. Agave (or sweetener of choice)
- ½ Tsp. Sea Salt
- 1½ Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- ⅓ C. Non-Dairy Milk (I used coconut milk)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Once oven is heated, spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant (but not burnt!).
- Allow nuts to cool. Remove the hazelnut skins by rubbing them in a dish towel. No need to be perfect, but try to remove as much of the skins as you can.
- Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend until they form hazelnut butter (this took me about 5 minutes). You will probably need to scrape down the sides a few times.
- Add the cocoa powder, agave, salt, vanilla, and non-dairy milk to the nut butter and process until smooth (1-2 minutes, depending on your processor). Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Store the chocolate hazelnut spread in a jar or tupperware in the fridge.
P.S. Does anyone else get a kick out of those Nutella commercials that tote it as a “healthy” breakfast option for kids (when eaten on some whole grain bread, of course)? Let’s not delude ourselves here: Nutella is dessert.