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No Lawsuit “Nutella” Chocolate-Hazelnut-Almond Spread

May 7, 2012

A few months ago my daughter did an extra credit project for her French class in which she researched Nutella and reported on it. She also made Nutella and the class taste tested it and the real deal. I wasn’t too surprised by some of her findings but hearing that hazelnuts make up only 13% of the decadent spread threw me for a loop. Common sense and some label reading shows that this is a special treat, not an everyday food. But only 13% nuts is… is nuts. I was also surprised that France consumes 26% of all Nutella sold worldwide. I’ve long thought of Nutella as a quintessential Italian sweet treat that schoolchildren eat slathered on a hearty slice of pane pugliese. Italy has had a long-standing love affair with hazelnuts paired with chocolate. Think Giandua ice cream, smooth and creamy or its nut studded counterpart Bacio, found in any self-respecting gelateria.  Ferrero Rocher and Baci by Perugina are standards in the boot and have made their way to the USA in recent years. Despite Nutella’s Italian origin, France and the French people have embraced it the most. But, it was two American mothers who were ‘duped’ into believing that there were health benefits to eating it. Oy vey, only in America.

If you know French, you can learn all you’ll ever need to know about Nutella from Sarah’s Power Point Presentation and learn how to make your own, more nutritious, almost 100% nuts, spread below. There is a notable difference in how nutty and good our homemade spread tastes and with only 1/3 cup powdered sugar it is not overly sweet. Good on a spoon or piece of bread.

2 Tablespoons of Homemade Chocolate-Hazelnut-Almond Spread vs. Nutella


Chocolate-Hazelnut-Almond Spread 

Makes about 10 ounces

  • 3/4 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1/3  cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place hazelnuts on a shallow baking pan. Keep to one side of pan, place almonds on other side. Toast until the hazelnut skins are almost black and the nut meat is medium brown, about 15 minutes. Keeping the hazelnut and almonds separated on the pan, stir each several time during baking to insure an even color.
  2. Wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Rub until most of the skins come off. Some of the skins will remain but won’t add a bitter flavor if most is removed.
  3. Process nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides and edges of the bowl occasionally. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a few minutes the nuts will form a ball around the blade, before you know it you’ll have hazelnut/almond butter thanks to the heat and friction that extracts the nut oils.
  4. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla. If the mixture seems too thick, slowly drizzle a little vegetable or nut oil to make a spreadable consistency. It will firm up as it cools so don’t thin out too much with oil.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months in an airtight container (it won’t survive that long with all the spoons dipping into it for ‘just a taste’). Stir before spreading in case separation occurs.
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