One word that has the power to derail my health efforts… Nutella. Creamy, chocolatey, hazelnut-ty. I can’t be the only one, right? I knew if I was going to be successful as a Trim Healthy Mama I was going to have to figure out how to curb my Nutella
crave obsession. So began my experimentation to find a sugar-free (also dairy/gluten-free) version of my favorite chocolate hazelnut spread.
Sugar/Dairy/Gluten-free Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
One thing was certain, I knew I needed a darker chocolate version of the commercial spread, which is milk chocolate. Now that I’ve cut traditional sugar out, the original version is far too sweet for my palate. My husband and I always snickered at the commercials that claim it is hazelnut spread with a hint of cocoa… If you look at the ingredients, it’s easy to see that that statement is a FAR stretch of creative license.
The process is a little tedious, but it is totally doable and the result is well-worth the effort!
Sorry I didn’t get photos of the entire process, I will still readily admit that I am NOT a food blogger. Remembering to stop and take photos of everything puts a cramp in my kitchen-creative juices.
What you’ll need
(some items didn’t make it to the photo session):
1 can of coconut cream (full-fat coconut milk can be used if necessary), I usually buy this at Trader Joe’s.
8oz of 85% dark chocolate (Moser Roth 85% from Aldi is perfect for this)
2 cups of hazelnuts
quality sea salt
vanilla extract (1tsp)
How to make it:
There are two basic processes; making the hazelnut butter and making the chocolate ganache.
First toast two cups of hazelnuts on a cookie sheet at 350* for 10-15 minutes (the skins will begin to crack). Do not overcook or burn, if you’re smelling them strongly, remove them from the oven. Next you need to remove the skins. Leaving too much of the skins will produce a bitter nut butter. To do this as easily as possible (this is the more tedious step), I place the toasted nuts into a kitchen towel and place the towel into a ziplock bag. Leave them alone for about 10 minutes, they’ll cool enough to handle and many of the skins will separate from the nuts. Rubbing them between your hands should remove the remaining skins.
Place skinned nuts into a Vitamix or other high-powered blender. I start on level one, turning the nuts into meal and then gradually increase the speed while tamping down the contents until it creates a smooth butter. You’ll want to be sure to get it smooth in this step. Add a few pinches of sea salt to the nut butter.
Move on to the ganache. Rough chop your chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. In a sauce pan combine the coconut cream and sweetener. Heat to a simmer and be sure the sweetener is dissolved. Turn off the heat and add vanilla extract. Add the heated cream mixture to the chopped chocolate, let it sit for 2-4 minutes and then whisk to combine into a smooth ganache.
Now gradually pour the ganache into the hazelnut butter and blend until combined and smooth. At the beginning it may appear to be separating, keep blending and adding a the ganache. I added a little ganache at a time while blending, until I got the consistency I desired. There was approximately 6oz of ganache leftover (not wasted, it’s useful for topping other treats) from this batch. Taste and adjust if necessary. Do you need another pinch of salt to balance the flavor? Do you prefer it a little sweeter? Want it thinner and more spreadable? Add a teaspoon or two of hazelnut or (liquid) coconut oil.
Pour into jars and allow it to cool down (it will have heated up while processing in the blender).
To keep it fresh you’ll need to store it in the fridge, but this will also make it set a bit. Bringing it to room temperature and stirring well will make it more spreadable. It’s spoon-able straight from the fridge.
Not that I would eat it by the spoonful. Nevermind, I totally do!
Now before you wash that blender, let’s not waste the hazelnut spread that got stuck to the sides! Time for a hazelnut mocha frappa (THM S)!!
Add one cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1-2 tablespoons of sweet juice concentrate (or sweetener or your choice, to taste), 1/4 tsp. gluccomannan, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend well and scrape down any of the goodness that’s stuck on the sides of the container. Add one tray of coffee ice cubes (I freeze leftover coffee into ice cube trays and then store the cubes in ziplock bags). Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust if necessary. Enjoy!
Which of your favorite treats needs a healthier makeover?
- 1 can of coconut cream (full-fat coconut milk can be used if necessary).
- 1 cup of your preferred sweetener (I used a combination of Just Like Sugar and erythritol)
- 8oz of 85% dark chocolate
- 2 cups of hazelnuts
- pinch or two of quality sea salt
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Toast two cups of hazelnuts on a cookie sheet at 350* for 10-15 minutes (the skins will begin to crack).
- Remove the skins.
- Place into high-powered blender and process into smooth butter.
- Add sea salt.
- Rough chop chocolate and place into mixing bowl.
- Place coconut cream and sweetener into small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Dissolve sweetener.
- Pour Cream mixture over chocolate.
- After sitting for 2-4 minutes, whisk into smooth ganache.
- Gradually add ganache to the nut butter and blend until smooth. It may appear to separate, keep blending and adding a little more ganache until you achieve desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust if necessary. Do you need another pinch of salt to balance the flavor? Do you prefer it a little sweeter? Want it thinner and more spreadable? Add a teaspoon or two of hazelnut or (liquid) coconut oil.
- Yields approximately 3 cups of spread. 1-2tbsp is an S if you are following Trim Healthy Mama.