I have a peanut butter problem.
Though, it’s not necessarily a problem. I just find that I could live off of the stuff. Is that really a problem?
Depends who you ask.
Thanks to my longtime loyal friendship with the sweet spread, I’ve always been somewhat hesitant when it comes to peanut’s distant cousin: the hazelnut.
The buttery flavor is blissful in my coffee, but the chocolate-infused version of the condiment has always puzzled me.
Nutella came spiraling down to earth years ago and all of a sudden, it was as if it had been here all along. I had tasted the packaged variety a time or two and found that I could take it or leave it.
Then I made a creamy chocolate hazelnut spread from scratch, and when I was supposed to bring it over to a neighbor’s house, I left it.
At home. For myself.
There was something therapeutic about making this chocolate hazelnut spread from start to finish. It might have been the fact that I was always a little weary of the jarred kind, so everything from the earthy aromas to the first lick off the spatula was somewhat of a surprise.
I knew that this dark, mysterious nut butter wouldn’t be cloyingly sweet, and that turned out to be my favorite thing about it.
As the perfume of rich roasting hazelnuts came billowing out of my oven, I realized that I might have underestimated Nutella all along. When I shared with a group of friends that I had made (not bought) it, they asked if it was an arduous process.
As I described roasting and skinning the hazelnuts, they suddenly looked at me as if I were the female hero in a rom com.
Cool. I could be Katherine Heigl.
The majority of the shells blistered and were easily shed when rubbed inside of a dish towel, but those that wouldn’t lose their skins got some extra TLC between my hands.
Arduous? Nah. My idea of a fun Wednesday morning? Yep.
If you’ve ever wondered what true joy feels like, try rubbing warm hazelnuts together in your palms.
You could just call it a day right there, but I would take the next steps of dumping the naked orbs into a food processor and pulsing them into submission along with cocoa powder, vanilla, and woody maple syrup.
Lightly sweet, divinely bitter from the cocoa, and with a rustic texture that screams, “I was gently loved by somebody’s hands!” this homemade Nutella copycat is worth every second.
I like to smear it on toast with sliced bananas and honey, dollop it onto salty crackers, and occasionally use it to brush my teeth.
In place of peanut butter, of course.Print
What’s toasty and vanilla-ey and chocolatey all over? This homemade “Nutella” loaded with cocoa, maple, and freshly roasted hazelnuts.
- 1 cup whole hazelnuts
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pinch coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Spread the hazelnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan once halfway through, until lightly golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool slightly and then, using a clean dish towel, rub them gently to remove the skins.
- Add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until the consistency reaches a thick butter. Pour in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and process until very smooth and spreadable. Spoon the mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.
- Allow the spread to come to room temperature before use.
- Category: Sauces and Spreads
- Method: Baking, No-Cook
- Cuisine: Snacks
Keywords: Nutella, chocolate, hazelnut, chocolate hazelnut spread
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Toast
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the hazelnuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast, shaking the pan once halfway through, until they are lightly golden and toasted.
Some of the skins will look slightly blistered and a deeper brown.
Be sure to keep an eye on them, set a timer, and do not allow them to burn!
Step 2 – Remove Skins
Allow the nuts to cool slightly and then wrap them in a clean dish towel. Rub them gently in the towel to remove the loose skins.
For any skins that don’t peel off easily, you can rub them together between your hands. Don’t worry if all of the skins don’t come off.
Step 3 – Grind
Add the skinned nuts to a food processor and pulse until they take on the consistency of a thick butter.
It will be slightly crumbly and not as smooth as traditional store-bought nut butter.
Step 4 – Add the Remaining Ingredients
Pour in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and process until smooth and spreadable, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed.
Spoon the mixture into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.
Allow the spread to come to room temperature before you use it, to make it easier to spread.
Hazelnuts + Chocolate = Best Friends for Life
When you make nut butters at home, you get to build your snacks from beginning to end. Give your peanut butter a rest and let this chocolate hazelnut spread take the wheel.
No maple syrup on hand? Sub in some orange blossom honey or a few squirts of smooth agave syrup.
Want to know what other goodies you can manifest with ground nuts? Check out these protein-packed productions:
- Smooth and Creamy Soaked Vanilla Maple Almond Butter
- Kale Almond Pesto
- Hazelnut Pesto Tortellini Pasta
What’s your all-time favorite way to enjoy Nutella? Do you double up on the sweetness and swipe an apple through it, or go savory and dab it inside a grilled cheese?
Share your nutty combos in the comments below. And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 4, 2010. Last updated: December 28, 2019 at 6:34 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”