Homemade Nutella

I was introduced to Nutella at the very young age of four-ish, when my family lived in Germany.  My mama would make bread in the bread machine, and we helped her take out the big metal key and cut thick, chewy slices.  Nutella spread onto that warm bread was probably one very few things that shut me up when I was little.  Wondering what all that cracked sugar was about?  Well, here you go.

Fast forward twenty years.  Nutella is almost as popular in the U.S. as it is in Europe.  I was surprised when I got to college and tons of my friends knew of and loved Nutella as much as I did.  But here’s the thing — Nutella now vs. Nutella then, and U.S. vs. European Nutella are two different worlds.

The current version of Nutella Americans buy in stores in the plastic jar contains partially hydrogenated oils and more sugar than hazelnuts, among other things.  Although he doesn’t list what is different, this taste test (read the comments!) confirms that Germans do not consider the two products to be one and the same.  Actually, our Nutella that claims to be “imported” is imported from Canada, not Europe.

Now, all this is not to say I have replicated the German version of Nutella.  I have simply followed, using very simple ingredients, a recipe for cocoa hazelnut butter.  Its hazelnut content is twice that of its sugar content, unlike the jarred version (which lists sugar FIRST and only contains 2/3 cup of actual hazelnuts).

In other words….  this is totally healthy and should be eaten all the time. ;)

Here is the recipe, from Su Good Sweets (Go visit! This site will make you want dessert NOW. At not even 9am. Promise.):


Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (caramel base)

Borrowed from Su Good Sweets

Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

  1. Preparation: Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a 3- to 4-cup saucepan. To prevent crystallization, don’t stir it again during the cooking. Cover and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the lid and wipe down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush or a scrunched up paper towel dipped in water. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar’s completely dissolved. Uncover and cook until the syrup looks like pale amber maple syrup. If your pan’s dark and you can’t gauge the color of the syrup, spoon a drop or two onto a white saucer. Swirl the pan gently, continuing to cook and test the color until the syrup turns medium amber.
  3. Immediately pour the caramel onto the lined baking sheet. Tilt the sheet to spread the caramel as thinly as possible. Let harden completely, about 15 minutes.
  4. Toast the nuts: Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color.
  5. To get rid of the bitter skins, wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Rub until most of the skins come off, but don’t worry if some remain.
  6. Make the nut butter: When the caramel is completely cool, break it into small pieces and pulverize in a food processor. Try to get the caramel as fine as possible at this stage (it won’t get finer once you add the nuts).
  7. Add the nuts and process until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Be patient; the nuts will go from a fine meal, to forming a ball around the blade, to nut butter. Add the cocoa, vanilla and salt and process until smooth.
  8. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.


2 Responses to “Homemade Nutella”

  1. when i dropped off the food at the shower on saturday, my friends little toddler was telling me how she loved sandwiches with ‘brown butter and black butter’ (peanut butter & nutella). so cute!

  2. elif says:

    caramel isnt healthy, stay away from burnt sugar.

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