You say Nutella, I say…ain’t happening for breakfast in this house.
I grew up in a pre Nutella-For-Breakfast world. We had plenty of heinously unhealthy food, like pop tarts and cocoa puffs. But putting frosting on toast and calling it breakfast wasn’t a thing. Even if it happened (looking at you, chocolate Easter bunnies), it wasn’t sanctioned, let alone encouraged.
My kids grew up in a post NFB world, thanks to brilliant marketing from the Italians, who needed a real game-changer to dress up their melba toast and give their people a reason to get up for breakfast. Still, I did not serve Nutella to my kids. That may help explain why they so easily, dare I say eagerly, transitioned to sleepovers, camp and really any opportunity to leave home. There’s no need to get into my reasoning unless you really want a buzz-kill. I think we can all agree that commercial Nutella is not a solid foundation for the most important meal of the day.
But WHAT IF Nutella was made with no added sweeteners, fat or scary ingredients? What if it was made with the holy trinity of healthy treat ingredients—dates, nuts and cocoa—and nothing much else? Now that would be something I could get behind. And don’tcha know, I have. It’s not just for breakfast of course—it’s for any time you damn well please.
No Guilt Nutella soars past the teenage boy test, the teenage girl test, the man test and the “gimme that spoon I just need a chocolate fix ” test. If you are a Nutella connoisseur you will not be fooled by this, but the concept of a chocolate spread you can eat by the spoonful without a shred of guilt or secrecy may win you over nonetheless. Vegans, Paleos and Gluten-free peeps? Yeah, this is your jive too.
As with last week’s treats, your food processor earns its keep making these. It’s pretty foolproof though, as long as you make an honest attempt to skin the hazelnuts* and then process those babies until they really turn to butter. Be patient. It will happen.
No Guilt Nutella
- 1 cup hazelnuts (or a mix of hazelnuts and almonds)
- 1 packed cup medjool dates, pitted (or more, see notes)
- 2 Tbsp water
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp flavorless oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup almond milk
- Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Transfer onto a kitchen towel and roll with your hands to remove skins. (no need to remove skins on almonds, if using)
- Puree hazelnuts in a food processor for 8 to 10 minutes until a butter forms. Take the time to do it right! You’ll know when you’ve crossed from ground nuts to butter.
- Remove hazelnut butter, and scrape out food processor as best you can. Add dates and water. Puree until smooth and creamy.
- Add hazelnuts to date paste and pulse a few times.
- Add cocoa, vanilla, oil, and salt and blend.
- With food processor running, slowly pour in almond milk. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few times to blend into creamy goodness.
*To completely remove hazelnut skins (for the smoothest possible spread), boil nuts in a pot of water with few tablespoons of baking soda for 4 minutes. Immediately strain and place nuts in ice water for a minute or so, until the skins peel off easily. You still need to roast the nuts to loosen up all the oils and bring out the flavor. Google will not corroborate this, but I find this process takes a little mojo out of the nuts. I prefer the less perfect/more flavorful roasting and rolling technique. You will stain the dishtowel, but such are the sacrifices we make. See here for a THOROUGH demo.
If your dates are hard, or you are using Deglet dates, soak them in warm water for an hour or two before pureeing.
…and furthermore, depending on the sweetness of your dates and the strength of your cocoa, you may need to add more dates at the end to find your sweet spot.
I swear the notes are done.
Store leftovers in the fridge, and put your guilt in the rear view mirror!