According to legend (and the Huffington Post) Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) was invented during world war 2 because rationing had caused chocolate to be a rare and pricey item, hazelnuts were and are a dime a dozen in Italy, so an innovative thinker used what he had to make a delicious new concoction.
I have a long-standing love affair with the stuff, I remember the very first time I tried it, in Honduras when I was 14. At the time Nutella wasn’t easily available in the U.S. and it was completely unknown to me. I think with the help of my aunt I polished off the major part of a jar in the car with a spoon! I also filled my suitcase home with plastic bag wrapped jars of the stuff, and hoarded them as long as possible!!
Fast forward a few years and I revived my affection while traveling through Europe, where there were tons of brands and flavors, dark, light, swirly all kinds. I really loved a giant crêpe made street side and slathered with chocolate hazelnut spread and bananas. It finally started popping up back home too, different brands and flavors, but I noticed that the American and European ones didn’t taste the same. A further look at both showed that while Nutella started out as a hazelnut butter flavored with cocoa, the modern version on both continents had a lot more fillers and weird ingredients in it than the original! In fact the company that makes the original got themselves into a bit of trouble when they aired TV ads claiming their product was a healthy one!
I decided to try my hand at making REAL nutella, and as you might expect, the results were awesome! Toasty, nutty with a deep chocolate flavor. This was the satisfying gooey stuff I was hoping for, and far healthier than store-bought. I’ve taught this in classes for years, and this year I’m wrapping some up as homemade holiday gifts, add a jar and maybe a ribbon (I’m wrapping impaired, that’s all I can manage, I’m sure the pinterest boards have better ideas) and that’s all you need!
So much more flavor, texture, and healthier than store-bought Nutella! Feel free to use different nuts, this is also a great recipe for nut butters if you leave out the cocoa…
1 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 to 2/3 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it!)
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tablespoons oil (hazelnut, walnut, or peanut are nice and nutty)
Place toasted and skinned nuts in a food processor. Process until the nuts turn into a smooth paste (you may need to scrape the bowl a few times so all the nuts get ground up evenly…this takes a few minutes. When the nuts are processed into hazelnut butter, add the sugar, cocoa and salt. Process again until smooth. Add the oil and process once more. Your homemade nutella should now have a spreadable consistency.Transfer your chocolate hazelnut spread to an airtight container or in my case a pretty jar or just eat it!