Nutella, created by Pietro Ferrero in Northern Italy in the 1940’s, for those of you who don’t know (who are you???)- is a sweetened hazelnut chocolate spread. Ferrero was a pastry maker and due to the rations of World War II, cocoa was in short supply. Therefore, Ferrero had an idea (personally, I think it was one of the best ideas known to modern man) to utilize hazelnuts in order to extend the chocolate supply. Thus, Nutella was born and the world was never the same.
I have always had somewhat of an unhealthy relationship with Nutella…and I’m not talking about a bit of Nutella spread on toast every so often- I mean pounds of Nutella eaten directly out of the jar with oversized spoons, generally while in front of the television, more times than I would like to recall.
Nutella used to be one of my basic food groups. Some might say that I actually moved to Italy to be closer to the birthplace of Nutella. I’m not admitting nor denying anything here.
Once I adopted a healthier lifestyle- absolutely eliminating all refined sugars and modified vegetable oils– my biggest fear was the end of the “Nutella era.” Consequently, most of my first experiments in unrefined sugar chocolate making and raw dessert crafting were centered around Nutella, or as referred to in some circles- “rawtella.” I have probably tried out about five or six different recipes (some raw, some with toasted hazelnuts, some with maple syrup, some with raw honey or coconut sugar, some with 4 ingredients, some with 10, and so on…) Each batch, although slightly varying in taste and consistency, has been absolutely scrumptious. In truth, I haven’t missed Ferrero’s original Nutella at all (but I am religious about having some kind of hazelnut/chocolate spread around at all times).
Now, I wouldn’t dare diss on Ferrero, because without his epicurean genius, who knows if anyone would have ever thought to combine hazelnuts and cocoa? However, being that consumer awareness has evolved since the 1940’s and numerous studies on nutrition and the negative effects of almost all the ingredients in Ferrero’s original Nutella (save the hazelnuts and cocoa) have been published, I am the first to say that we can do better!
In fact, I did do better. This morning.
And here’s the recipe for raw hazelnut and cocoa spread, in case you were wondering:
- 1 cups raw hazelnuts
- 1 scraped vanilla bean (use the paste from the inside, not the bean itself)
- 5 tbsp. raw cocoa powder
- ½ cup organic maple syrup (or raw honey)
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. cacao butter (I used coconut butter because I didn’t have cacao but cacao works better)
- pinch of sea salt
- filtered water
Process the raw hazelnuts in a food processor for several minutes until they become creamy and oily. Add cocoa, vanilla, salt, oil, cocoa butter and maple syrup and process until smooth. Slowly add 1 tsp. of water at a time, continue processing, until you reach desired consistency. Store in airtight container and try not to eat it all at once.
*Note: Roasting the hazelnuts first creates a creamier consistency in the spread (but I
wanted this version to be completely raw)