“Robin eats chocolate sandwiches,” my daughter announced after a day in 3rd grade.
“That poor girl!” I thought. Most likely she’s left to make her own lunches and this is what she chooses? A chocolate sandwich? Can you imagine? Is it on white bread?
Fast forward to a recent shopping trip. My daughter spotted the chocolate in a jar, or Nutella. It occurred to me that this was most likely what had been slathered on Robin’s sandwiches. Somehow a jar made its way into my basket. I caved. Isabel is hooked. Her breakfast of choice is now a bagel topped with Nutella.
After reading the list of ingredients, I channeled Jamie Oliver, and thought, “I can make this healthier.”
Nutella’s ingredients: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor.
Searching through the internet, I found several recipes similar to Nutella, commonly using hazelnuts and chocolate. I decided to combine some of the ingredients and create my own. This was partially determined by what I already had in my kitchen.
Measure about two cups of almonds or hazelnuts and put them in a single layer onto a cookie sheet.
Roast the nuts in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often so they don’t burn. Place them into your food processor.
Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to the warm nuts.
Grind, grind and grind some more. The mixture will take on the consistency of peanut butter. When it looks like this, keep grinding a bit longer.
Break up a 4 oz. chocolate bar into a microwave safe bowl, and heat on high for 1 minute.
When you take it out of the microwave, it will look like this...
Give it a stir, and put it back in for another 30 seconds if necessary. Stir. If you don’t have any unmelted chunks... Voila! You have perfectly tempered chocolate.
Add the melted chocolate, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to the almond mixture and blend well.
Pour it into jars and place in the refrigerator to firm it up.
The butter will spread easier if you bring it to room temperature before serving.
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter
2 cups raw almonds or hazelnuts
4 ounces dark (or milk) chocolate
1 teaspoon coconut oil (this can be found near the olive oils at many grocery stores)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon course sea salt (fleur de sel)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
Roast the raw nuts by placing them on a cookie sheet and baking them in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning.
Place the warm nuts and the coconut oil into a food processor and grind them until they’re as fine as possible. Then grind them some more. When you will see the texture change from crumbly to buttery (after about 5 minutes) you’re almost there.
Place the chocolate bar into a microwave safe dish and heat on high for 1 minute. It won’t look melted when you take it out, but stir it and watch the magic. Put it back in for another 30 seconds until it’s smooth. Add the melted chocolate, sea salt and vanilla to the nut mixture and blend until smooth. There will be small pieces of the nuts visible.
Pour into small glass jars. The consistency will be fairly thin at this point, but after a few hours in the refrigerator it will thicken. Bring it back to room temperature for perfect speadability.