Homemade Vegan Nutella

by mary on April 3, 2012

Two jars of homemade nutella shown on a tablecloth with nutella on bread in the background

homemade vegan nutella

Nutella. I first had it at twenty, and what a revelation it was, spread on toast in the little flat I was visiting outside London. In the ensuing decades this chocolate-hazelnut treat remained a sweet memory along with Aero bars. When it finally hit North American grocery stores I read the label and was deterred by the hydrogenated oil.

Ferrero has since reformulated Nutella to eliminate hydrogenated oil, and the company is ahead of the Girl Scouts in trying to source its palm oil from sustainable sources. You could do worse than to buy the commercial version. Just think of either the store or homemade varieties as special occasion food, not a regular breakfast item.

I made it for a weekend brunch when my whole family was home, adapting the vegan chocolate-hazelnut spread recipe I found at Kelly Brozyna’s The Spunky Coconut. The family loved my version of Nutella spread on slices of freshly-made French toast and topped with sliced bananas. The idea of the French toast-Nutella-banana sandwich came from Tastefully Julie.

Next time I make this I may add hazelnut oil, which would intensify the nut flavor and soften it a little. It gets quite firm in the refrigerator but spreads fine as it is. It could also be made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate, adding additional sweetener and coconut milk to replace the chocolate’s sugar and cocoa butter. The LA Times has a recipe using cocoa powder, though it seems to me that it would need additional liquid.

This recipe uses one full can of Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk. Though the cans aren’t BPA-free, it’s a good quality milk without preservatives or additives. The recipe makes a big batch of spread, which has to be eaten fresh because of the coconut milk. Fortunately it freezes well.  I froze half but admit that it came back out of the freezer more quickly than I’d anticipated. Maybe I’d better wait a while before making that next batch.

For unrefined sugar I chose fair trade Sucanat, while Kelly’s Spunky Coconut recipe calls for low-glycemic index coconut sugar. Here’s the coconut milk and sugar simmering on the stove:

pan on stove with simmering coconut milk and sugar

melting the coconut milk and sugar together

I put in a quarter cup of sugar compared to Kelly’s half a cup, but we both used similarly sweet chocolate bars with around 70% cocoa, with my choice being Trader Joe’s well-priced Pound Plus Dark Chocolate.  I’m kind of lazy on the chocolate-melting front. I zap it in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, which I find works as well as melting it in a double boiler with less effort.

I prefer toasting nuts in a pan on the stove under my watchful eye, instead of in a oven where I can sometimes make the expensive mistake of burning them. You could do it my way, or you could toast the nuts in the oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes.

roasting DuChilly hazelnuts in a large pan

roasting DuChilly hazelnuts in the pan

I used Holmquist Orchards DuChilly hazelnuts, which are sweeter than round hazelnuts and have a very thin, non-bitter skin. They’re a local farmer’s market producer for me, but DuChilly hazelnuts are otherwise hard to find– in fact, Holmquist is the only source I see online. You can get their nuts online through them or from Amazon. Most recipes for homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread call for rubbing the hazelnuts with a towel after toasting to remove the skins. If you are using regular round hazelnuts, which have a bitter skin, you might want to try that (without driving yourself crazy if they don’t all come off).

Enjoy! And if you try the recipe please leave your suggestions and ratings in the comment section, I love to hear from you!

Update: I will now be buying chocolate from this list of sources of slave-free chocolate.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Homemade Vegan Nutella
 
Prep
Total
 
Author:
Type: spread, dessert
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups DuChilly hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup unrefined sugar (coconut, Sucanat, or other)
  • 10 oz. sweetened dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar)
  • 1 can Thai Kitchen coconut milk (13.6 oz) or just over 1½ cups of full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla (optional)
  • salt to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toast hazelnuts in a large pan over a medium flame until they start to smell fragrant and turn brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. If you use round hazelnuts instead of DuChillys, rub the nuts with a towel after toasting to remove most of the skins.
  2. Melt the coconut milk with the sugar in a pot, stirring over a low flame until the sugar has completely melted.
  3. Put the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor or a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Process or blend (using the tamper) until the nuts are finely ground.
  4. Add the coconut milk-sugar mixture. Blend again until smooth.
  5. Add the melted chocolate, blend until smooth.
  6. Taste. I did not add salt or vanilla but you can if you wish, or increase the sweetness with a liquid sweetener that can be blended in.
  7. This makes a large batch and coconut milk is perishable: put into small jars and freeze whatever you won’t eat within several days.

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

TastefullyJulie
Twitter:
April 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Thanks for the link love!

psst. It’s Tastefully Julie but Naturally has a nice ring to it, too :)
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mary April 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I’ll fix that, Julie! Thanks for the Sunday brunch inspiration!

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Belinda April 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

This is brilliant! I don’t buy Nutella for the sole reason that I would eat it all in 2 sittings…LOVE this homemade version – would at least feel better about eating it.

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Denise April 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This is such a wonderful recipe. I would never have thought of making this before your recipe.
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Hannah
Twitter:
April 6, 2012 at 3:27 am

I’ve heard such good things about those DuChilly hazelnuts for years now, and I have yet to try them. I’ve certainly tossed around the idea of ordering online, but just never bit the bullet… Perhaps this recipe will push me over the edge though, because a good vegan Nutella is (nearly) priceless. I’ve made many versions now, but never with coconut milk. I’m very curious to see how that changes things!
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mary April 6, 2012 at 5:13 am

Having the DuChillys at the farmer’s market has made it easy for me, I don’t know that I would have gotten around to buying them otherwise. I think the Holmquists here in Washington may be the only US source. I see that they sell hazelnut flour, too, I’m sure that would be really good for baking. I poked around and see that Nuts.com also sells the DuChillys, presumably from the Holmquists as they say they are grown ‘in the shadow of the North Cascades.’ I also found an article in the LA times about a visit by Deborah Madison to their farm, with some tempting looking dessert ideas for a baker like you (hazelnut torte with espresso cream) and savory ideas too (romanesco sauce).

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Maria April 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My family LOVES nutella but I stopped buying it after reading the ingredients. Can I use stevia or another truvia in place of the sugar? Plz let me know, I can’t wait to try the recipe!

Reply

mary April 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thanks, Maria! The added sugar isn’t necessary, the hazelnuts have some natural sweetness and the chocolate itself has sugar. If you leave the sugar out it will just be a little less sweet. But if you want no refined sugar at all, you’d have to start with unsweetened chocolate or good quality cocoa powder. With cocoa powder, you’d need additional fat or oil to replace the cocoa butter in the chocolate. If you want sweetness with a low glycemic index you could use coconut sugar, as in The Spunky Coconut recipe, or you could use agave. You could use stevia, though I rarely use it so I can’t offer much advice there. I don’t like the aftertaste, though I have heard there are some brands of stevia that don’t have it.

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ohkeeka [The Type A Housewife]
Twitter:
April 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I love Nutella–I also discovered it while vacationing in Europe. I even smuggled little packets of the stuff from the hotel’s breakfast room back to the US! But I haven’t bought it in so long because it seems pretty low on nutritional value (and high in sugar). Your version sounds wonderful and I LOVE the fact that it has less sugar in it!
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mary April 7, 2012 at 4:21 am

Thanks, Ohkeeka! Hope you like it when you try it yourself!

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Cynthia May 8, 2012 at 2:03 am

I am trying to get away from sweetened chocolate, therefore, is it possible to use carob powder instead, and if so, how much?

Reply

mary May 8, 2012 at 2:58 am

Hi Cynthia, this recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder, which is very bitter, therefore some sweetener is needed to make the recipe good. Carob powder is not bitter like cocoa, so if you used it, you could probably cut the sweetener somewhat. But carob doesn’t taste much like chocolate, so don’t expect that if you use it. It doesn’t have fat like cocoa does so the recipe might be kind of dry or chalky. It might need more coconut milk or maybe some oil. There’s disagreement about how much carob to substitute for cocoa. Some sources say 1:1, some say more carob, 1.5 or two times as much. I would add it gradually and taste, and the same with the sweetener. But what I would actually do if the main concern were sweetener (and not something else like the caffeine in cocoa) is just use cocoa and address the concern about sweetener in some other way. For example, Kelly’s original Spunky Coconut recipe that mine is based on uses coconut palm sugar, which I have recently started using myself. It has a great caramel-y flavor and a low glycemic index, so it ought to be easier on your system than regular sugar. Agave is another possibility for a low-glycemic index sweetener. It seems to be controversial, but I personally feel fine about occasionally using raw organic agave. Another possibility is using banana for part of the sweetener, though that of course will give it a banana flavor. Banana and Nutella are kind of a classic combination. I haven’t tried it, but here’s a recipe here using caramelized banana and agave syrup for sweetening: http://frenchforfoodies.com/tag/homemade-nutella/. It’s quite a different recipe than the one here, it has dairy and no hazelnuts, just hazelnut oil. But it’s a pretty small batch, it might be fun to try and see what it’s like. Good luck! Please tell me how your experiments turn out.

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Trish May 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

Nutritous and wonderful recipe you have shared to us. This would perfect for family bonding. I will not make this very sweet, I will just minimize in adding sugar.

Reply

mary May 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting, Trish, let me know how you like it.

Reply

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