by Mariana Rufin
Nutella undoubtedly has a cult following, and for good reason – the delicious, intensely chocolatey taste and velvety smooth texture are hard to beat. Not to mention, Nutella tastes good on just about any breakfast or dessert item: oatmeal, waffles, crêpes, a hunk of French baguette, stuffed inside of a donut, the list goes on.
However, standard Nutella may not be the right choice for someone adhering to a plant based diet, or individuals seeking to choose foods with more wholesome, nutritious ingredients. The original version contains palm oil, a notoriously controversial ingredient that can contribute to harmful labor practices and environmental degradation if sourced incorrectly. After labor abuse indictments against Sime Darby, a well known Malaysian palm oil manufacturer, many chocolate manufacturers including Ferrero Rocher, redirected their sourcing of palm oil to be more ethical, and the company now claims to use only “certified sustainable palm oil.” Unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to the issue since other vegetable oils and substitutes can be just as ethically and environmentally harmful, however it is worth supporting brands that are transparent about their methods. For this recipe, I suggest using refined coconut oil or plant based butter because, like palm oil, they help the mixture stay thick and creamy when at room temperature.
- 2 cups roasted hazelnuts, skins removed
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil or plant based butter
- ⅓ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and roast hazelnuts for 10-12 minutes
- Cool the nuts briefly; transfer to a kitchen towel and shake vigorously to remove most of the skins.
- Add hazelnuts to a food processor (blender may work too for this step but a food processor is preferred) and blend on high speed for roughly 5 minutes, or until it resembles a smooth hazelnut butter.
- Add the oil and continue blending for a few more minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.
- Store in a jar or tightly covered container and keep in the pantry for up to two weeks, or in the refrigerator for two months. Enjoy on oatmeal, smoothies, toast, pancakes, ice cream… you name it!