DIY Pantry: Homemade Nutella (vegan recipe)

One of my favorite workshops during this past weekend's Sweet Escape Retreat (more about that soon!), was the DIY Pantry class, during which I showed the attendees how to make easy homemade versions of popular condiments and pantry staples. In the hour-long workshop I showed them how to make a quick strawberry jam and homemade ketchup, but the definite hit was my recipe for Homemade Nutella.

This quick and dairy-free version tastes almost exactly like the kind you get in the bottle, but doesn't contain any funky ingredients. Even better? It's made entirely in the food processor--all you have to do is combine the ingredients and let the machine do the work.

The recipe starts off with blanched hazelnuts--this is key as it eliminates the need for you to roast and remove the skins yourself, which is a total pain in the butt (trust me. I tried it that way once and it wasn't fun.).

I get my blanched hazelnuts from (one of my top three favorite shopping websites EVER!), but you can also find them at the bulk aisle of grocery stores like Whole Foods. They're about a dollar or two more expensive per pound than the ones with skins, but it saves you so much time and effort, that it's totally worth it.

Photo by Connie of, via Instagram
You then puree this with unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar (I used organic as it's GMO-free), a bit of salt, some vanilla extract, and hazelnut oil, which helps loosen the spread and also intensifies the hazelnut flavor.

You'll note that in the recipe I am flexible with the oil--that's because different batches of nuts will have more oil than others, so you'll have to use your eye and just keep adding oil until it hits the right creamy texture.

Another thing to note is that as this is homemade, it's unlikely that you'll get it as perfectly smooth as the bottled kind. Many of the bloggers on the retreat actually noted that they preferred the slightly gritty texture as it felt "more rustic and natural." I have to agree!

P.S. Check out retreat attendee Judith's post about the class here.

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Homemade Nutella (Vegan, Dairy-Free)
Makes 3 cups

4 cups (1lb) blanched hazelnuts
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup hazelnut oil plus more as needed (Note: substitute walnut, canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil if you can't find the hazelnut oil although note that the hazelnut oil will give it the stronger "nutella" flavor)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Process the hazelnuts in a food processor about 2 to 5 minutes,  until they start to form an oily hazelnut butter (similar to a rough peanut butter).

Scrape down the bowl, and add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, hazelnut oil, vanilla extract and salt and continue to process, scraping down the bowl and adding more hazelnut oil, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy (similar in texture to jarred Nutella). 
Once it reaches the desired texture, transfer to a jar for storage. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.

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